Will Nguyen Cao is a New York-based Vietnamese/American fashion designer focused on sustainable development within the fashion industry. He is from the Bay area and studied fashion design in Los Angeles at Otis College of Art & Design.
With ACRMNY, his personal brand, he doesn’t just want to promote sustainability as a culture, but he lives and breathes it. His supply chain is 100 % traceable, and he is relentlessly working on ways to lower the impact of the production. The identity of the brand is driven through dialogue and narrative - check it out here @acrmny. The first drop of jackets & hoodies will be launched online A/W 2020!
We've met Will online though our community and immediately seemed to connect - we are inspired by his masculine, raw and functionalist aesthetics as well as his courage to follow his own path and pursue his dreams whatever it takes.
Will’s parents are refugees from the Vietnam War and inspire him every day as they have taught him to be resilient and never give up.
We recognize a lot of ourselves in Will. He is a stubborn fighter, and juggle many projects at the same time. His creativity never seems to run out. We share an inexplicable love for New York City; the pace, the diversity, and the endless possibilities in the city that never seems to sleep.
We feel very fortunate that Will agreed to curate this playlist and hope that we will have the chance to meet up with him next time we are in New York. A mix of explicit Rap, Hip Hop & Soul – Enjoy!
Say hi to Roxana Niculescu, aka Roxy, the latest addition to our team. In the coming months, she will be creating content for the LULU—LAND Journal and Instagram.
Roxy is an incredible writer, with her characteristic personal style; she makes people reflect and laugh. Don't be surprised if you suddenly find a Harry Potter reference in her writing on just about anything.
Roxy is one of the most diehard Beyoncé fans we've ever met, and she loves everything that involves performing, acting, and dancing. Her dream is to make it her full-time living, and we truly admire her persistent work towards her goal.
We love Roxy's childlike curiosity and her innate fight for equality and justice, whether it comes to issues on race, gender, or sexuality. We hope that you'll be as inspired as we are by her thoughtful, positive, and charming, yet unapologetic nature.
OK, LET'S START WITH THE EASY ONES
Name: Roxana Niculescu (Roxy is the regular drill)
Birth month/year: May 30, 1991
Currently located in: Malmö, Sweden
What do you do for a living? Isn’t it funny, how strongly we associate living with working?
But to actually answer, I work as a housing coordinator at a rental management company – basically, I find long-term (and pretty) homes for ex-pats who moved to Sweden and work at IKEA, TetraPak etc. I coordinate the entire process, from their initial preferences to supporting them during their stay.
The rest of the time, I do all kinds of things to live. Hanging out in the bathroomwith candles is definitely one thing.
MOST OF US HAVE CERTAIN ROUTINES, LET'S GET TO KNOW YOURS
What is the first thing you do in the morning? Lately, I’ve created the habit that the first thing I do is taking a few conscious breaths and speaking out what I’m grateful for. I’d lie if I said that I see the effects very obviously, but I fully believe that it’s much more about long-term joy than the usual instant gratification stuff we do. But the first more active thing I do is wash my face with cold water. Several splashes. I just wouldn’t be a person without doing that.
"I do my best to roll out of bed and onto my yoga mat or into a meditation. But then there’s those other days when I end up browsing through clothes instead and being late."
What is a typical day like for you? I do my best to roll out of bed and onto my yoga mat or into a meditation. But then there’s those other days when I end up browsing through clothes instead and being late. Breakfast is a MUST, I’m usually (almost) starving. A book usually keeps me company. After breaking into a dance or two, I go to work, though not the last three months when I’ve been working from home and I LOVE it (more yoga and me time, yes please!). I dedicate evenings to friends, cooking, working on acting pieces, writing, watching shows, thrift shopping, buying ice cream - you know, life essentials.
And now that we're at it – what are the last things you do before bedtime? Tea, though not as much during summer. Maybe yoga, shower, and more writing - recently started a gratitude journal where I’m writing every single thing from the day that I feel grateful for - or something that I appreciate about myself. And watching my current show/reading my current book.
How do you spend your weekends? Sleeping in is just my favourite. Not too crazy late, but late for most others I’ve heard. Breakfast in bed. Lazying around. Quality time with friends. More thrift shopping. Reading. Nature trips or city trips or trips to my candy shop.
"I fully believe that life’s a party."
When was the last time you celebrated? I fully believe that life’s a party. I love celebrating being alive in any small “random” moment, so it’s pretty tricky answering this question. But it was my bday recently and that was a 2in1 celebration because I saw some friends for the first time in a few months.
WE ALL HAVE MORE OR LESS FLATTERING TRAITS
What is your guilty pleasure? Whenever I get suddenly and temporarily obsessed with pop celebrities and I end up watching their interviews/videos late into the night. Shoutout to Ariana Grande, my latest binge.
What is your superpower? Seeing through people. I don’t need to know things about others to see them for who they really are.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PASSION, NOT THE FRUIT
What could you spend all day talking about? Beyoncé, self-development practices, healthy habits, food, movies, actors, books.
What inspires you? Virtually any form of art, but specifically music, films/theatre, books, paintings and ancient sculptures. I also find infinite inspiration in things that appear to be common, but aren’t, like the movement of leaves or the look in a baby’s eyes.
LET'S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER INTO WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Repeat or shuffle? What have you been listening to lately, and what are you humming in the shower? Repeat AND shuffle. Lately I’ve been digging more into grime, it’s really helped me process some powerful emotions that have been surfacing - Skepta is such a king and the genre is mad good. Neo-soul always - Erykah Badu is a daily mantra. Also some badass female rappers - Nicki, though mainly Leikeli47 right now. A song that I can’t stop playing is the remix Megan Thee Stallion did with Beyoncé - “Savage”. In the mornings/evenings I mix it up with ancient Japanese meditation music or Indian classical, sometimes Ludovico Einaudi who is a master of my heart and my favorite classical musician.
Poster or collectors’ items? If we gave you a million, what would be decorating your walls? I’d definitely buy a few authentic Greek/Roman sculptures, or maybe I wouldn’t afford more than two with that money. I’d love to get original artwork by Ivan Alifan, Mikael Owunna, Anne Barlinckhoff just to name a few.
Newspapers, journals, magazines, online platforms, digital media, podcasts… you name it – how do you keep yourself updated, and what are your news sources? Al-Jazeera is a newssource I admire and trust most, The Guardian is also great. A magazine I’ve started collecting is 32C, everything they do is just *goals*.
If you could have lunch with one person, alive or dead, who would that be? Beyoncé - both a hard and easy question.
Books, movies, and/or series – what can you recommend? The books of my young womanhood are The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante, she is unbelievable and so are these novels, though they’re brutally real at the same time. There are four books spread over a few decades, about an epic friendship between two women against the heavy backdrop of a very poor neighborhood in Naples, Italy. Recently I read “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernadine Evaristo, just the most unique style and extremely powerful voice for both black culture, women and the LGBTQ community.
These days I’m obsessed with the TV-show “Insecure”, a hilarious and very insightful comedy/drama sitcom about black women (and occasionally men), by black women, and for anyone to enjoy to the max. Other all-time favorites are Better Call Saul (a masterpiece) and The Office (US) is by far the most epic comedy material ever.
Which three Instagram accounts should everyone follow?
@youvegotnomale - super mega witty and pro-all-freedom meme genius Sebastian Tribbie
@indyamoore - my favourite actress from the show POSE and such a fierce representative of the trans community.
YOUR LIFE SO FAR: SMOOTH SAILING OR OBSTACLE COURSE – A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PAST
Who was your first big love? Can I answer Beyoncé here as well? Kidding (not entirely). It was my first proper boyfriend when I was living in Romania. I was 15 and crazy in love.
What's the single best realization you have ever had? That everything significant we feel can be traced back to our childhoods, and healed the same way.
What's the best bad or crazy decision you have ever made? That moment that seemed so wrong but turned out so right. If you don't make bad or crazy decisions, have you then ever made a decision that changed your entire life? One (most) glorious summer back in university, when my best friend and I decided we needed to live in Greece. We found jobs online, we’d be working at the same bar, and even though it seemed alright, there was next to no security about it. I had to travel alone for the first time, sleeping in the airport waiting for the ferry, and moving to an island all by myself. My best friend joined only later. It was the single most defining experience, not only in terms of freedom and pure joy, but more significantly in terms of the unknown and the kindness of strangers.
AND A LOT MORE ABOUT THE PRESENT
"I am truly enjoying and appreciating all the heavy emotional processes I’ve had come at me lately. True change, healthy change, necessary change."
How are you, really? It's nice to check in every once in a while. I love this question, and love asking myself this in meditation too - so important. It’s been a very intense time but I am truly enjoying and appreciating all the heavy emotional processes I’ve had come at me lately. True change, healthy change, necessary change.
When are you the happiest? WhenI'm performing on stage/in front of the camera. When I take the first swim of summer. When I kiss my boyfriend. When I eat delicious foods. When I’m inItaly. When I eat gelato. Pay me and I still wouldn't be able to choose only one.
What scares you the most? The thought of serious illness ...
What keeps you up at night these days? The show I’m watching (Insecure) cuz it’s perfect and addictive. And the long summer nights of bliss.
Tell us one thing people would never know about you by just looking at you? That I can be as introverted as I am extroverted.
What habit would improve your life? More exercise (duh). Gotta say that I am at least trying, honestly.
We all have qualities that don't really have any rhyme or reason. What is one thing you don't understand about yourself? It’s a long time ago now that I gave up understanding the self. It’s such a paradox, because life is synonymous with experience and so are we. So I experience it all, instead of understanding. But a thing that frustrates me sometimes, is the laziness/procrastination I notice I fall into even though I know my passions and what I need to do for them.
What works for you at the moment, and what doesn’t? I have a lot more time to myself and my career paths, and that’s so necessary right now when I’m juggling different things. My late sleeping schedule isn’t the best though so I’m working on improving that.
When do you feel the most comfortable in your own skin? When I dance my booty off and whenever I put my outfits together.
What makes you feel insecure? Both the acting and the creative industry, when thinking about them as big monsters that I can’t conquer. And the eternal problem of comparing myself to others, which is still a work in progress.
AND OF COURSE, A SNEAK PEEK INTO THE FUTURE
What's the best thing about the next thing you are during? That I’m finally taking some real action towards my next career move, and LULU—LAND itself is the catalyst for it. And my next career move means to design my own life in the creative industry. The same goes for my acting career, that I feel real badass determination for my next steps.
"When it comes to writing, I’m slowly paving my way for what I imagine being a fabulous freelance career."
"Plans are worthless– but planning is everything" – Dwight D. Eisenhower. What does the future look like for you – what are your dreams and goals? I was born to be a mother in every sense of the word, and more so than many girlfriends I have, so a family is something that I am dying for. When it comes to acting, I’ve decided that I will get an agent by the end of the year. When it comes to writing, I’m slowly paving my way for what I imagine being a fabulous freelance career.
ADVICE – EASY TO GIVE, HADER TO FOLLOW
What (or who) motivates you in difficult times? My boyfriend and my closest girlfriends are the best supporters. And I mean it when I say this, Beyoncé too. She has helped me in some of the toughest times. Her godly power and monster work ethic can drive me forward.
Good advice is priceless. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Just anything that ever came out of Eckhart Tolle’s mouth. He is my forever greatest spiritual teacher. To paraphrase maybe the biggest thing, and the core of his teachings, is that our true joy and peace depends on always distinguishing between what is/what the mind says about it. It’s also the root of all suffering, and of living a life lost in thought. It’s the foundation of perspective and of true acceptance of even the “worst” thing.
What is the kindest thing anyone ever said to you or the best compliment anyone ever gave you? That I spread light to everyone around me.
"I don’t believe in heartbreak - there is pain, and grief, and they are natural."
How do you heal a broken heart? I don’t believe in heartbreak - there is pain, and grief, and they are natural. The only way is through.
THE FORECAST – TRENDS AND TENDENCIES
What is going to be the next big thing? (concepts, businesses, ideas, mega trends, etc.) Can’t help thinking of fashion, and you know this new trend of wearing sport shorts over pants when working out? I predict that the next step will be wearing that outfit to go out, to restaurants or other regular walks of life. And it will develop to all kinds of combinations of shorts/long pants. I’d literally die laughing if that ever happened.
But on a more serious note, I actually fear a future when the much-explored concept of self-love as we see it now, will develop so much that it will turn into a whole industry and my fear is that it will be so monetized that it will cease to serve its real purpose.
We would love to find out about cool new places and things to do in your area. What are your favorite places? Where do you like to go to have fun? I live in the real heart of Malmö, a neighborhood called Möllan. I live next to a park (Folketspark) where I’m sure any kid would want to permanently move into, but this park also has perks for adults too - my absolute favourite summer bar is right in the middle of the park, and it’s called Far i Hatten. It’s THE must-do here during summer, I’m so in love with it forever and ever. I also adore what is by now the best falafel spot in town, and it’s right around the corner from me - Mr. Falafel (SO LUCKY).. The beach is also so much fun, especially for magical sunsets.
THE ONES THAT DIDN'T FIT INTO THE OTHER CATEGORIES
"My favorite object is my projector. Straight-up my most valuable possession in every sense of the word."
What is the most favorite, most useful, and most useless object you own, respectively?
My favorite object is my projector. Straight-up my most valuable possession in every sense of the word. I really do have a mini-cinema in my living room andI’d never go back to a TV.
Most useful - my electric toothbrush because hello, brushing teeth, but also because it completely changed the whole game. It’s not the typical round one that you see everywhere (those suck), but a normal shape (from Philips). We’re close friends by now.
Most useless - Hair rollers that I bought a million years ago and still haven’t touched.
What was the last thing you searched for on your phone? Be careful: you might be required to show proof. Hair rollers. Had to make sure it was the correct word (even though I knew it was hehehe).
Call or text? Which is better, and why? I honestly can’t choose, because it so depends on the situation. But in true writer fashion, if I had to choose, I’d go with texting.
What is your pet peeve? Self-entitled pretentious God-complex people.
What is the most interesting thing in your trash can? Pieces of paper we used last night for Pictionary - I tried drawing X-Men and it turned out VERY interesting.
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it? Love it forever. Provide it with the best life I could, in my Möllan backyard.
THE BIG ONES
What is the meaning of life? There isn’t, we are here to experience everything and that’s what life is to me.
Look, mom, I made it! – How do you define success? Arriving at the place where you have the courage to be who you really are, at any given moment.
THE FINAL TWO
Name three people you would like to answer these questions?
Beyoncé (SURPRISE), Obama and one of my close friends (any).
How would you describe LULU—LAND? Is this a trick question?
It’s an ambitious start-up for creating a wonderful, inclusive and inspirational online/offline community, where creators can thrive and grow, where more of the world can get to know and learn from their awesomeness. It’s an inspiring little world.
Copenhagen is an endless source of inspiration – and it will probably always feel like home. This is where the idea of LULU—LAND was born.
The tiny capital has become known for its excellent taste in everything from architecture, furniture design, interior, fashion, and—of course—food. In recent years, there has been a surge in bars, restaurants, shops, and fashion designers insisting on a less formal, lighthearted way of doing things, which makes it a lot of fun too!
Abroad, Denmark is known to repeatedly rank as one of the happiest countries in the world, most likely due to high levels of equality and a strong sense of shared responsibility for social security and welfare.
More recently, The World Economic Forum also found that the tiny northern country ranks in the top, as best-performing, when it comes to the environment and sustainable development; virtually all waste is recycled, composted, or incinerated, and the country is world-leading when it comes to climate change commitments. Aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030.
Visiting Copenhagen might give you an idea of why this is. It's one of the busiest bike cities in the world. Biking is, without a doubt, the easiest and cheapest way to get around. Most hotels have bikes you can borrow, but if not, there are bike rental shops all over the city. There's literally no better way to explore Copenhagen than on a bike.
This is a collection of our favorite areas and places, some more know than others. Whether you live in Copenhagen or are traveling, we hope you'll get inspired to explore the city.
Copenhagen K (City Center)
Beau Marché French interior shop, wine bar & intimate date spot ($$)
The Royal Library Garden Located on Slotsholmen, between the Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Library, the garden constitutes a small oasis in the heart of the city. It’s a great place to escape the noise of the city and get some rest during the day. Bring a book.
Christiania Freetown established in 1971 in an old abandoned military area. Christiania is known for its alternative housing, acceptance of artists, addicts, and vulnerable minorities, Green Light District/pusher street, and a liberal view on cannabis and psychedelics.
Tyler is a dear friend of ours and an incredibly talented American copywriter. For the past couple of years, he's been traveling the world while doing what he loves - writing!
Our paths crossed at Dojo in Canggu, Bali, last Summer. Tyler was curious about "Popcorn Brain" as he had been introduced to the concept by a mutual friend. Somehow, we immediately connected and have kept contact since then. We were supposed to meet up again in Barcelona before the world went crazy, and most nomads were forced back to their respective home countries. For the time being, he is located in L.A., California, U.S., and like the rest of us, try to make the most out of being back home with family and old friends.
Tyler helped us immensely when it came to defining and describing what LULU—LAND is. He is a genius at giving critique and putting creative ideas, thoughts, and concepts into words that actually make sense and persuade people to continue reading. Without much explanation, he understood exactly what kind of platform and community we wanted to create.
While you are at it, don't forget to sign up for his daily newsletter. It's good. Like really good – intelligent, entertaining, inspiring, unpretentious, and funny.
This playlist very much reflects his creative, calm, and thoughtful nature. Enjoy!