advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Greg Fong, Sean Monahan, and Emily Segal

For turning detachment into dollars.

Greg Fong, Sean Monahan, and Emily Segal
The trendspotters: From left: K-Hole’s Monahan, Fong, and Segal [Photos: Leonard Greco]

Chris Sherron was working as a graphic designer when he came across what seemed to him like a strange corporate artifact: a trend-forecasting report filled with baffling jargon and over-intellectualized language. Amused and intrigued, Sherron, along with four friends–Greg Fong, Sean Monahan, Emily Segal, and Dena Yago–decided to cook up trend reports of their own, for fun. It was an art project called K-Hole that would mix parodies of consumerism with their personal observations about the culture.

advertisement

After their fourth report came out in late 2013, one of the terms they’d coined went viral. Normcore–which they made up to describe a social phenomenon involving adaptability and individuality (it’s complicated)–turned into an actual trend. “Nike, Google, Samsung, and North Face all got in touch,” says Segal. Other corporate leaders had reached out, too. Soon, K-Hole the collective decided to spin off K-Hole the consultancy into a real company that offered trend-forecasting services to major brands.

While purists might believe that K-Hole’s corporate work somehow compromises its artistic credibility, the collective insists that it is all part of the same mission. “What we do is a criticism and a celebration and an interrogation and a curiosity and a questioning about consumerism,” says Segal. “We don’t come down on one side.”


Bonus Round: Emily Segal

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

I read everything I can get my hands on, flip through the racks at Zara and Forever 21 (it’s like a meditation), browse IRL in as many bookstores as possible, and go to the club. Listening to good music makes you smarter! I also love to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Coffee and NPR.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

I look at all the Kardashian Instagrams in a row, starting with Kim, then Kylie, Kendall, and Kourtney. Then I look at Rihanna’s Instagram followed by three or four fan accounts that track her outfits. If I’m stuck on a writing or strategy project, I write freehand on a legal pad in a weird place without Internet–no environment that’s too lovely or I get distracted. Other methods: go outside and walk, listen to something, smoke cigarettes, tell jokes.


Bonus Round: Greg Fong

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I look at my phone and check my email. Such a boring answer.

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

How many times we change our minds about things. Our reports usually go through a mid-production remix where everything gets stripped down and built up again from parts.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

@ckcker, @actual_LIMI_FEU, and @Wild_Egg.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Leave New York.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

Whoever’s currently directing the Fast and Furious franchise. Channing Tatum. Tumblr.


Bonus Round: Sean Monahan

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

In my friends–the old ones and the new ones. A constant churn of new and old friends is really important for me to feel engaged with the world. It’s like the shark that has to keep swimming to breathe–when your friend group becomes static you know something’s wrong.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I drink coffee immediately. I’m not really a morning person, so if I’m not caffeinated I’m not awake.

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

The fact that most of our serious pronouncements start out as inside jokes. We laugh a lot. It keeps us from freaking ourselves out.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

@tinatbh on Twitter–I really identify with Tina from Bob’s Burgers.

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

Leave New York.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

What field are we even in?

About the author

Danielle Sacks is an award-winning journalist and a former senior writer at Fast Company magazine. She's chronicled some of the most provocative people in business, with seven cover stories that included profiles on J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chelsea Clinton.

More