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Lily Kwong, a Model and Landscape Designer Sought by Fashion Brands


Lily Kwong, model and landscape designer who helps fashion brands become more environmentally friendly.

Amanda Hakan for The New York Times

Lily Kwong

Age 29

Hometown San Francisco

Now Lives A two-bedroom apartment on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Keith Haring lived in the 1980s. “We have photos of Keith exactly in the room that I sleep in now,” Ms. Kwong said, who has a roommate, the artist Kate Greer.

Claim to Fame Ms. Kwong is a model, landscape designer and fashion cross-pollinator, helping brands become more environmentally friendly. In 2015 she created a pop-up shop between H&M and Amour Vert, an eco-minded fashion label based in San Francisco. Last fall she designed an eco-friendly capsule collection with Maiyet, as well as a landscape installation for its SoHo store. “These brands seek me out because of my record and knowledge around sustainable products,” she said.

Big Break A modeling scout discovered Ms. Kwong in 2007 while she was walking around the West Village. Her fashion career took off while she worked as a studio assistant and fit model for her cousin, the designer Joseph Altuzarra. During her modeling gigs in places such as Paris and Beijing, Ms. Kwong became fascinated with how cities function and got a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Columbia University in 2012. A fellow Columbia alumnus connected her to the Island Planning Corporation, a landscape design firm that hired her to oversee its master plan for the Miami Design District.

Latest Project For the summer solstice, Ms. Kwong created a quarter-mile landscape installation on the High Line in partnership with the liquor brand St-Germain. The project featured a green canopy of flowers and a dance performance that pays homage to the Solar Do-Nothing Machine, a toy sculpture by Charles and Ray Eames.

Next Thing Ms. Kwong is designing the landscape for the Shou Sugi Ban House, a 13-room spa in Southampton set to open next year on three acres near the Parrish Museum. “I’m also interested in plant-based eating and wellness,” she said. “This is really going to be a center for healing arts.”

Scout’s Honor Ms. Kwong’s family calls her “Scout” because of her love of nature. “I started my first nature club in first grade, which consisted of leading a bunch of friends into the woods to explore, gather and connect with nature,” she said. “I’m still trying to do the same thing as a grown-up, just on a much bigger scale.”

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