Consumed reader Q&A No. 5: Alan Lugo

(I’m running late on this — sorry! Things are busy here! )

Continuing the effort to put Consumed readers in the spotlight, here’s the latest a series of mini-Q&As with some of the interesting people who have joined the Consumed Facebook page.

Today: Alan Lugo, a designer for the Hush Puppies brand (FB page here).

s12113506_10201. What are you working on now, or making public soon, that you’re particularly excited about (and why)?

Right now I am starting conceptual work for the men’s fall 2010 global line here at Hush Puppies, including a few interesting concepts that I think will be really cool and continue to keep the brand relevant to today’s consumer, and hopefully create more opportunities for those who have forgotten about the brand to take a look again.  Every season I try and think about a footwear need that I do not feel that is being met in the market, whether it relates to fashion, price point, color or whatever, and try to find the our take on the solution, it isn’t always easy, but I think this season we will have a couple good examples of this.  Also, the spring 2009 footwear line has recently launched globally and it represents the first line of footwear that I worked on as a professional (I’m on my 4th season now), it’s interesting to look back on those shoes that I worked on many months ago and see the things that I may have done differently, or even notice things that maybe I wasn’t sure about at the time, but now feel good about.

2.  Is there something you would have bought, or used to spend money on, a year ago, that you would not today?

One of the main things I have really cut back on is my movie expenses.  I’m using netflix now and saving a lot of money as opposed to renting movies for $5 a pop at the store; also had to let the HBO cable package go, it just was one of those things where I wasn’t getting the value out of it and was looking to save.

3. What have you bought/spent money on/or otherwise consumed lately that you’re really pleased with?

The last thing I spent money on and am really pleased with would be my latest pair of basketball shoes.  For a while there I was buying cheaper pairs and my feet would always hurt, so I finally went and bought a pair of Nike hyperdunks and they are really light, supportive, and comfortable on the court.  This has let to me playing more than I used to, so I guess I also have to be pleased with my YMCA membership.

4. And on a related note: Name, if you can, one thing that a friend/coworker/acquaintance bought lately that you find surprising or puzzling.

There really isn’t much that my friends or acquaintances have been buying lately, or at least that they are telling me about, but my friend did just buy a used bike for like $600, which I thought was a lot for a used bike, but apparently it was a $1200 bike. So I guess that was surprising.

Thanks for the answers!

Join the Consumed Facebook page here.

Consumed reader Q&A No. 4: Rob Horning

Continuing the effort to put Consumed readers in the spotlight, here’s the latest a series of mini-Q&As with some of the interesting people who have joined the Consumed Facebook page.

Today: Rob Horning, author of Marginal Utility on PopMatters.

s1384150395_2603What are you working on now, or making public soon, that you’re particularly excited about (and why)?

Aside from continuing to post on weekdays at Marginal Utility, I’ve just started to go through and try to tag all the blog posts I’ve written since I started in 2004. My hope is that this process will not only make the blog marginally more useful but will help me consolidate my ideas for a possible book. I’m trying to fight my own tendency to keep pressing forward, keep dashing off more or less spontaneous responses to things to satisfy my inclination to write, and put together something more carefully reasoned than what I generally do in blog posts — probably it will be about that very tendency at some level, the currents in contemporary culture, in consumerism, that work against our slowing down, dwelling with things, encouraging us instead to accumulate experiences and things without the hassle of thinking of them too particularly.

And of course, I’m excited to have discovered Hipster Runoff [rw note: sometimes NSFW] a blog that is well worth blogging about — I hope my efforts at placing the ever-ludic Carles in his proper theoretical context at hroexegesis.blogspot.com are helping lift the veil on his philosophy a bit.

Is there something you would have bought, or used to spend money on, a year ago, that you would not today?

I used to be stuck in a pattern of eating lunch and then buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks or wherever to take back to the office where I work. (The office provides only Flavia, that awful boil-in a-bag crypto-coffee.) But then on a whim I bought a hot pot at a drug store and started making my own coffee at my desk. It’s been a curious source of camaraderie with coworkers in close proximity ever since. Now I’m very conscious of buying coffee — it seems to happen now only when I am on road trips.

What have you bought/spent money on/or otherwise consumed lately that you’re really pleased with?

In a way, I answered that above, but aside from my hot pot, I’m really inordinately pleased with basically everything I buy at Aldi. I feel like I am consuming the essence of frugality itself when I eat, say, their house-brand prunes. I’ve made a strange fetish out of Aldi that I need to get over. I want it to represent the promise of a post-brand future for the retail of staple items, but my own fixation with it imbues its brand with the halo value I would like to see negated. It seems as though all signifiers inescapably become brands, imbued with commercial identity-shaping ramifications; I wish it was possible for me to see a way through to how brands could become simple signifers again.

And on a related note: Name, if you can, one thing that a friend/coworker/acquaintance bought lately that you find surprising or puzzling.

I just went in on a share of a CSA ["community-supported agriculture," a kind of farm co-op] with a friend. I still don’t think I quite get it; I have no idea what to expect. I have this vision of joylessly and hurriedly eating turnips and dandelion greens to make room in the fridge for the kale shipment.

Thanks for the answers! (And thanks for both of your fine blogs.) Next mini-Q&A might be in one week, with Alan Lugo, if he sends me answers as promised. We’ll see!

Join the Consumed Facebook page here, and if you’re interested in being Q&A’d, just let me know.

Consumed Reader Q&A No. 3: Janet Kim

Continuing the effort to put Consumed readers in the spotlight, here’s the latest a series of mini-Q&As with some of the interesting people who have joined the Consumed Facebook page.

Today: Janet Kim, creator/designer of fashion line Graey.

n384_18431. What are you working on now, or making public soon, that you’re particularly excited about (and why)?

I recently presented my Fall 2009 collection, where I shifted gears from more casual tees to silk dresses. The presentation was great but in this economy, retailers are cutting buys and don’t want to take chances with a new designer. I just met with Henri Bendel and they are giving me a trunk show in August. This means that I will have to assume the risk in producing the dresses and deciding what gets to be manufactured, but it will be great exposure.

One of the first questions a buyer asks you is where else you’re selling, and as a new designer, it’s kind of a chicken or the egg, catch-22 situation. Buyers don’t want to take a chance on an unknown, but if no one ever takes a chance on you, you’ll never get into a store! The trunk show gets me into Henri Bendel, which is a store that smaller boutiques look to in deciding what new designers to pick up. In addition to the exposure, I’m hopeful that I will sell a good amount of merchandise in the week that they’re giving me, which could lead to other opportunities with the store.

In addition, I am planning a trunk show on May 9 in New York for my private clients. I will pre-sell the dresses at a discount, which will be delivered to the client in about 6 weeks. One of my friends is a jewelry designer (in addition to running an online showroom site) and so I’m going to sell her jewelry in addition to pre-selling my dresses and doing a sample sale of some inventory. It will be more like a party. Hopefully we’ll sell some pieces, but more importantly, it will help me gauge what to cut for the trunk show at Henri Bendel. I am also considering doing an online trunk show, since I have clients that are not based in New York.

2. Is there something you would have bought, or used to spend money on, a year ago, that you would not today?

I definitely have a harder time buying clothes than I used to now that I have my own clothing line. It’s hard for me to find something I like enough to want to buy it because I feel like I should be spending the time/money making my own stuff, unless it’s something that’s ridiculously expensive, in which case I can’t afford it.

3. What have you bought/spent money on/or otherwise consumed lately that you’re really pleased with?

One of my friends is a hairdresser and she gave me a great cut and dyed the underside of my hair. It’s great because it’s subtle but noticeable. She initially dyed it a nice salmon color but it washed out so I redyed it a bright fuchsia color with some Manic Panic dye. The color pops out underneath my black hair.

4. And on a related note: Name, if you can, one thing that a friend/coworker/acquaintance bought lately that you find surprising or puzzling.

When I saw an infomercial for the Snuggie, I kind of wanted one because it looked so comfortable. Then a few weeks later, one of my friends received one as a gift from his coworkers. I was totally enthralled. It’s actually not a great product — it’s made of this really cheap polyester that has bad static cling and picks up every piece of dirt and lint from the ground. But the marketing is so unintentionally comical. We also realized it is actually just a backwards robe! It is great for laughs. The photos on the box are amazing — like the family just hanging out, watching a game in their matching Snuggies.

Thanks for the answers! Next mini-Q&A in one week, with Rob Horning.

Join the Consumed Facebook page here, and if you’re interested in being Q&A’d, just let me know.

Consumed Reader Q&A No. 2: Debbie Millman

Continuing the effort to put Consumed readers in the spotlight, here’s the latest a series of mini-Q&As with some of the interesting people who have joined the Consumed Facebook page. Today: Debbie Millman, who heads the design division at Sterling Brands, hosts Design Matters, and is a painter and writer to boot.

n769270369_13711. What are you working on now, or making public soon, that you’re particularly excited about (and why)?

I primarily work in the business of designing what are considered FMCG’s or “fast moving consumer goods.” At the moment, I am working on several brands that are considered “comfort food.” I find this particularly interesting given the economic downturn we are experiencing and the sudden interest in these often-neglected, nearly vintage American stalwarts. Many are lumbering (but profitable) relics from my childhood, and it is fascinating to try to resuscitate and reinvigorate these sleepy giants.

Also, I am working on my third book, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, which is both thrilling and terrifying, depending on the day. Or the hour.

2. Is there something you would have bought, or used to spend money on, a year ago, that you would not today?

Showtime and HBO. Regular blow-outs for my hair. My landline. Taxis.

3. What have you bought/spent money on/or otherwise consumed lately that you’re really pleased with?

Scrabble. Online, on my phone and on my dining room table! I now know more words that contain the letter Q than anyone else I know.

4. And on a related note: Name, if you can, one thing that a friend/coworker/acquaintance bought lately that you find surprising or puzzling.

New boobs.

Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. Thanks for the answers! Next mini-Q&A in one week, with Janet Kim.

Join the Consumed Facebook page here, and if you’re interested in being Q&A’d, just let me know.

Consumed Reader Q&A No. 1: Chris “Zeke” Hand

As noted previously: In an effort to put Consumed readers (I am not crazy about the word “fans”) in the spotlight, I’m experimenting with a series of mini-Q&As with some of the interesting people who have joined the Consumed Facebook page. I’m hoping to do this every Friday.

n503994512_8120First up: Chris “Zeke” Hand (more here, and here) who among other things used to be the proprietor of Zeke’s Gallery, in Montreal.

1. What are you working on now, or making public soon, that you’re particularly excited about (and why)?

A couple of things. In no particular order; an Art Guide publication (using paper and old-school tech) for Montreal — 438 Art Galleries and counting. Making the maps is driving me crazy. A multimedia /multi-platform guide-to-your-neighborhood thing. And spewing lots of hot-air :-) over at CKUT 90.3 FM.

I’m excited about the Art Guide, because no one (and I mean NO ONE) is aware of how many art galleries are here. The scene is so incredibly fragmented it is ridiculous, and I might be able to (in a very small way) unite it slightly, which would be good.

I’m excited about the multimedia / multi-platform guide-to-your-neighborhood thing because playing around with new-technology and learning stuff is always fun (albeit frustrating, too :-)

I’m excited about being on the air at CKUT (aka spewing lots of hot-air) because despite new-technology, being on the radio is still
wicked cool. There really ain’t no soap box like it out there. Easy, accessible and understood by all. The archive/feed is here.

2.  Is there something you would have bought, or used to spend money on, a year ago, that you would not today?

Flowers for my sweetie.

3. What have you bought/spent money on/or otherwise consumed lately that you’re really pleased with? [This by the way doesn't have to be a product -- could be a song, a movie, an app, a particularly good mango, or anything else.]

Dinner and drinks at Pullman (a restaurant in the neighborhood).

4. And on a related note: Name, if you can, one thing that a friend/coworker/acquaintance bought lately that you find surprising or puzzling.

Something like a 35th bottle of sorta good, not so hot wine (you know, not plonk, but nothing to rave about either) by a person close to me who only drinks maybe one glass every third week or so.

Thanks for asking.

And thanks for answering! Next mini-Q&A in one week, with Debbie Millman.

Join the Consumed Facebook page here, and if you’re interested in being Q&A’d, just let me know.