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Molly Young

"Iffy with a twist." 

MONOGRAM: List your full name, profession, and place of residence:

MOLLY YOUNG, writer and creative director, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

MONOGRAM: Let’s get this interview started off right. Please tell us about your obsession with escape rooms.

MOLLY: I was initially dragooned into an escape room for my 30th birthday, and was convinced that I would dislike it. In fact, it was so fun that I went back the following night. And then I kept going, and going…and now it’s a line item in my life’s budget. Gathering clues and solving mysteries is a very primitive human pleasure. It’s like being inside a video game. I sound like an insane person when I evangelize about it, but I can’t help it. Some people have religion; I have escape rooms.

MONOGRAM: You’ve written so many types of stories, from celebrity profiles to shopping to book reviews.  Do you have a favorite genre?

MOLLY: I like reporting profiles because I get to burrow into people’s lives. It’s the closest you can get to obtaining an invisibility cloak. 

MONOGRAM: Who would you most like to interview, and why?

MOLLY: Steve Martin, because he is catholic in his tastes and rigorous in exercising them. And because he’s a recluse, like me. 

MONOGRAM: We absolutely love the Periodic Table of NYC Trash that you created with your partner and fellow owner of our Erotic sweatshirt, Teddy Blanks.  Tell us about how that idea became a reality.   

MOLLY: Over years of traveling, we noticed that every city on earth has a unique “litter thumbprint”. If you pay close enough attention to garbage — and why WOULDN’T you — you can identify any place on earth by its trash. Fascinating! We liked the challenge of photographing and organizing the trash of New York City into a science-inspired framework. Teddy is the true genius of the project; I just took the photographs.

MONOGRAM: You’re about to release a book called D C-T with artist Joana Avillez. Care to share a little bit about the contents or concept? 

MOLLY: The book is a love song to New York in the form of encrypted illustrations. It is designed for adults, but some very smart children might be able to enjoy it, too. It will be published next year by Penguin.

MONOGRAM: So to make sure we have this straight  you work a full-time job; make posters; create stickers apps; write stories for NY Mag, GQ, and Elle; review books; and contribute crossword puzzles to the NY Times.  Do you have plans to run for President in 2020?

MOLLY: I did too many drugs as a youth to run for President!

MONOGRAM: Your home is filled with so many weird and wonderful treasures - we were so distracted by all of your inspiring objects!  Any tips to share on acquiring awesome stuff?

MOLLY: Set eBay alerts like your lifestyle depends on it, because it does! 

MONOGRAM: You and your cat Helen have the exact same color hair. Was that part of your selection criteria or a happy accident?

MOLLY: That was my sole criterion for selecting a pet. 

MONOGRAM: Who’s your all-time favorite artist or designer, and why?

MOLLY: “Walter Robinson is a Manet of hot babes and a Morandi of McDonald’s french fries,” wrote Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker, and he was right. Walter Robinson is my favorite painter, and I am lucky to own a few of his works.

MONOGRAM: How would you describe your personal style?

MOLLY: Iffy with a twist. 

MONOGRAM: Do you have a favorite vintage t-shirt? How and when did you acquire it?

MOLLY: Mad magazine was the most important piece of media in my life from ages 6 to 14. My sense of humor was forged at that age and has never advanced, thank god. “Spy vs. Spy” was a comic strip that came in every issue of the magazine, and I snatched this shirt on eBay in 2002 as a commemoration of my wasted youth. (Whenever I invoice anyone for freelance work, I use letterhead with the signature Mad “M” at the top. It reduces my professional credibility but increases my personal satisfaction!)

MONOGRAM: What’s your favorite way to style a t-shirt?

MOLLY: I like a boxy tee with a roomy trouser. I always get my t-shirts hemmed an inch or two because I’m 5’4” and have the figure of a baby carrot. 

MONOGRAM: Do you use graphic t-shirts to articulate your point of view? How so?

MOLLY: I don’t even know what my own point of view is, much less how to articulate it. I pick and wear t-shirts that tickle my fancy bone. That’s the truth.

MONOGRAM: Lightning round: describe yourself in terms of the following…

COLOR: Off-white
ERA: The near future
FETISH: Accuracy
SYMBOL: Squiggle
LOCATION: Northern California
OBJECT: Lint remover
BEVERAGE: Bitter tea
VEHICLE: Dented Volvo station wagon
RITUAL: Bath time
TAGLINE: “Cozy does it”

PHOTOGRAPHY: Clement Pascal