Balance, Design, Products, Technology
October 20, 2010
What song does Bosco the dog listen to while his owner, Jean Lin, covers commercial interiors and architecture for otto, forecasts trends for WGSN, or designs for her women’s clothing line, Dressed in Yellow? Take a listen.
What do you listen to while you work? This depends on what work I’m doing and what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m writing, I generally can’t listen to music with intense lyrics, so I’ll listen to the mellower jazz like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue or melodic electronic stuff like Múm and The Album Leaf.
When I’m drawing or working on my clothing line, anything goes. It helps to have something upbeat like MGMT or thought-provoking like NPR. I’m addicted to This American Life and Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
How do you listen? I almost always use my computer, either with my iPod or streaming online.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I grew up in Massachusetts and there is a great chain there called Newbury Comics. They now have a website where you can order CDs and vinyl, but back in the day it was a great spot to find new music and a creative atmosphere.
Does music influence your work? Once I designed an entire collection while listening exclusively to Miles Davis. It wasn’t a conscious source of inspiration, but when it came time to present what I had made, I realized that the moody spirit of the music had found its way into the clothes. You can see it here.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? My brother Jasper and boyfriend Rory are always recommending music they think I’ll like. If it wasn’t for Jasper I would still be listening to Weezer’s first two albums on repeat.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? Well…I inadvertently named my clothing company after a line in Young MC’s “Bust a Move”. I’ll let you decide.
In The Beginning, K’Naan
Re:Definition, Mos Def & Talib Kweli
Heartbeats, The Knife
Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show
Hey, The Pixies
Dead Sound, The Raveonettes
Drop It Like It’s Hot, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell
My Block (Nitty Remix), Tupac
In The Air Tonight, Phil Collins
The ’59 Sound, The Gaslight Anthem
A Sunday Smile, Beirut
Cry, Cry, Cry, Johnny Cash
The Subtleties of Chores and Unlocked Doors, Des Ark
Images: Jean Lin
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
June 21, 2010
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Before [design and architecture blog] otto, and before I started writing about design, I worked as a fashion designer in the NYC fashion industry. I worked ridiculous hours in a design studio and never saw the light of day. When I decided to start my own fashion line dressed in yellow about 5 years ago, I needed to find a job that gave me flexibility. That’s when I started working from home as an editor of a design newsletter.
Today, I’m still in New York City and I work from home as editor of otto a+d, a trade blog that targets interior design professionals; I am also the US Editor for WGSN-Homebuildlife, a trend forecasting agency based in London; and of course I’m still designing for dressed in yellow.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I love the word “style” because to me it’s a matter of self expression, fashion and design are simply tools we use to achieve this. For this reason, my style is a bit all over the map. For me, style is what happens day to day when I reconcile comfort, mood, beauty, inspiration and restraint.
How do you keep your office organized? I hate to admit it, but I am quite disorganized by nature. I have towers of papers, books, fabric and press kits on my desk, threatening to fall on me and ruin my life. With all the different jobs I have going right now, I have come to depend on my Google Calendar. It is what keeps me from missing my deadlines, double booking appointments, and forgetting to buy a father’s day gift.
When you were putting together your home office what did you keep in mind? Honestly, I just hoped everything fit. Once it was clear that my small apartment could house all my enterprises, I wanted to make sure that my sewing table, drafting table and desk were able to get good light.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? Is there any that I don’t? I love design and have made a career out of looking at great design day in and day out. To me, the greatest design is when function, form and process work in harmony, and when that happens, how can I not wish that piece was in my life?
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Surface area. Since I’m a piler, I need the surface area to organize my papers visually!
What would you change about your own workspace? If I change something, my tower of junk might come unbalanced and fall.
What do you most love about your space? I get amazing light in here, and my windows face west looking at the Manhattan skyline. When the sun starts to set, the light has a magical golden glow that makes the entire space feel like a warm, fuzzy dream.
What inspires you? Great people who have done great things in their lives. One time I cried reading a book about the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. One time I cried when watching a documentary about the band the Pixies. One time I cried while watching the end of a triathlon. Other than making me cry far too much, these people inspire me to push myself harder, to work towards the best version of myself — be it designer, editor, daughter, friend, dog mom — possible.