I visited Iceland a few years back and fell absolutely in love with it. But my ultimate favourite place is on Vancouver Island, where I grew up
GORE-TEX Studio: This one is getting harder and harder these days - but how would you describe yourself in 1 sentence max?
Lily Lin: I’m a semi-domesticated nomad, multi-disciplinary designer/illustrator, and overall just a person doing her best.
GORE-TEX Studio: Tell us a bit about your city’s climate. What are your three favorite spots - in the summer, in the winter (outside)? What is your favorite method of transportation and why? How do you prep for bad weather if you spend time outside?
Lily Lin: The climate in Portland and the Pacific Northwest has shifted over the past few years. Generally speaking, the summers are dry and hot, while the winters are wet and gray. But the past two summers had been unseasonably hot. We sometimes get snow, but it’s been warm so far. The spring and autumn are lush and beautiful here, even within the city limits.
It’s so difficult to narrow it down to just three spots! I love being outdoors/in nature and love the coast, regardless of seasonality. There are many beachside towns all along the Oregon coast that are wonderful. Last January, I spent three weeks out in a small town called Oceanside with my dog Peanut. We explored the surrounding trails and beaches; it was wonderfully quaint. I visited Iceland a few years back and fell absolutely in love with it. But my ultimate favourite place is on Vancouver Island, where I grew up. Tofino is a small town on the west coast of the island. I try to visit whenever I can because it is pure magic. I was on a hike there this past summer that was all tree roots and scrambles. I ended up splitting my head open on some branches and had to get it glued but worth it!
My favourite mode of transportation would be seaplanes! It’s common where I grew up and have taken a few trips going from the island to the mainland. I love that it can get you to remote places otherwise not accessible by road, and it’s just super fun to me!
As for preparing for bad weather, having grown up in the PNW, layers, proper footwear, warm socks and a good waterproof jacket will get you a long way.
GORE-TEX Studio: Tell us a bit about your professional life and do you draw a hard line between private/professional? What were your most memorable moments professionally, your biggest achievements?
Lily Lin: I think about this quite a lot, especially when I feel like I’m not delivering. It’s such a privilege creating for a living, but I do fall into mental spirals where when people critique the work, I feel like they’re also judging me as a person by extension. There will always be a blurred line, but I’ve been working on being more aware of the two sides. I think it’s important to know and learn who you are as an individual outside of what you do for work because life is not two-dimensional. I currently freelance, which has been a welcome change after nearly six years at Nike. Near the end of my time there (full-on pandemic/lockdown/WFH), it felt impossible to separate them, which felt very unhealthy.
My most memorable moments and achievements are not specific to a singular moment or project. I had quit my job in San Francisco and moved to Berlin right when the recession hit in 2008. I took a job that paid €160 a month as an intern in fashion PR and a second job back in a kitchen. It was a difficult time. But because of it, I met some of the most amazing people and had incredible experiences pivotal not just in my career but also in life. Professionally, I got to work on projects like rebranding Stone Island while I was with Acronym, which was a direct line to how I ended up at NikeLab where I was able to work with some of the most talented people in the industry, which allowed me to continue to do what I do currently.
GORE-TEX Studio: What are you wearing today, why are you wearing it, did you have a particular weather scenario in mind when choosing this piece? What do you love most about your GORE-TEX product?
Lily Lin: I’m wearing an oldie but goody – Acronym GT-J34 in olive drab from SS-13. I wore it because it is one of my go-tos when the weather isn't too cold but calls for a chance of rain. This jacket is perfect for an autumn day when I’m not wearing too many layers. It’s super lightweight and versatile, and most importantly, waterproof!
GORE-TEX Studio: Where and when did you get this… Do you have any special memories connected to this item? If you could go anywhere, where would you like to take this piece?
Lily Lin: I got this while I was still living in Berlin and working for Acronym. I think about my time living there, and the many late nights spent in the studio. I miss it. Where would I take it? I mean, since I left Germany, it has travelled with me to LA, San Francisco, Portland, Canada and parts of Asia. It’ll hopefully see a few more places in the future!
GORE-TEX Studio: How do you define the term “comfort” in clothing, in particular technical apparel?
Lily Lin: I’ve been working in apparel for over 13-years at this point, with a lot of time around technical apparel. “Comfort” clothing for me is something that keeps me protected in the elements and allows me to keep on whatever the task is at hand.
GORE-TEX Studio: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects… what are you looking for in the next six months and what challenges do you see that you’re excited about?
Lily Lin: I’ve just moved into a new studio space which I'm very excited about! I want it to be a space where I can work away from a computer/screens and more with my hands. I've been exploring new skills in woodwork, textiles and I also want to refocus on painting again. The last two years have been challenging for everyone. For myself, the silver lining out of that is it has helped shift my focus on what is or should be most important to me.
Beyond that, I've been working on a few projects I'm excited about, but can’t say much more than that!