A Conversation with Alana Tang: In The Comfort Of
by même .·
même. is founded on the three pillars of creativity, community and collaboration. Our latest collection campaign highlights the magic that's made when friends bring their worlds together, creating something truly unique. Children immersed in a tasteful color palette of modern clothing design and natural wood home furnishings. Alana Tang, Seattle-based founder and curator of In The Comfort Of, sat with us to chat about her journey from aspiring apparel designer turned vintage furniture and home goods connoisseur.
In The Comfort Of will be selling all the furniture and home goods featured in the campaign on Saturday, January 30th, at 11:00 AM PST on Instagram Stories.
First and foremost, thank you for collaborating with us on the release of our new collection. Can we dive in and give the readers some background on In The Comfort Of?
For sure! In The Comfort Of is a small Seattle business that sells vintage furniture and home goods. To me, ITCO is my platform for self-expression. As this business and I evolve hand in hand, I learned that finding beautiful pieces of furniture is just a fraction of what it means to feed my soul. One of the most fulfilling challenges I want to carry on as part of the identity for In The Comfort Of is creating set designs entirely with pieces that I source to create moods that evoke inspiration.
Yes! Quite honestly, we love what you do, and believe you’re extremely talented when it comes to curating. You have that eye!
How did the desire to collect, design, and curate come to you? Was there a specific person who sparked the curiosity, or was it something tugging at you naturally?
I’ve always been someone who went thrifting as a form of fun and functionality.
A pivotal moment was when I was at the Goodwill on Dearborn [Seattle] and I found a travertine and brass table base, it was $30 but I could see that it was missing a glass top. I ended up taking it home and googling a brief description of the table base and found that local shops had sold similar tables for $300 plus dollars. It sparked an idea in me.
At the time I found the table base I was taking prerequisite classes for the Apparel Design Program at Seattle Central College while working a full time job.
Oh wow! I hear that program is tough. You must’ve been slammed.
Right! And I knew that if I wanted to dedicate more time to the program I would need to find a solution to having more availability for full time school and having a source of income to pay rent and tuition. I started In The Comfort Of in March of 2019 with intentions to do just that — but I had no idea that it would bring me to this point of having a creative outlet, being able to support my livelihood entirely, and creating opportunities to give back to the community.
What was it like getting started? Where’d you go?
When I first started In The Comfort Of there were a few local shops I looked up to and referenced often as business models. Homestead on Capitol Hill and 6th And Detroit when Michelle the owner was local. Both shops have supported me in my endeavors and it is such a blessed feeling to be a part of this community.
That in itself is a blessing right there. Not many people have the know-how or guidance when they jump into their own business, so having that support of people to look to is major.
There were some changes this past year too, right? The Apparel Design Program, what made you have a change of heart?
I believe that when you don’t get what you want or something doesn’t go as you planned, it’s because the universe has something in store for you better than you could have ever imagined. I struggled a lot with school during Fall Quarter of my last year at the Apparel Design and Development Program. Dealing with the pandemic and personal family things at home made me feel like school was the last thing I wanted to choose to do. I was unhappy in school. I battled both ideas of dropping out for mental health and staying in to get my degree but when I added up all the pros and cons the only question I had left was, “What makes you happy?”
Sourcing, styling, and photographing for In The Comfort Of was the first thing I thought of. Leaving the program wasn’t a part of my grand plan but I do believe that the universe is trying to put me in a place that is greater than anything I could have imagined for myself.
Those are very heavy feelings to navigate, and it’s definitely not easy. Especially because there’s no right or wrong answer and most of the time it’s layered in fear. I feel like it almost always works out when you trust your intuition, though.
What has navigating the pandemic been like for you?
If I hadn’t gotten laid off from my day job during spring of 2020, I probably would still be trying to juggle that job and In The Comfort Of at the same time. The silver lining that I have found during this pandemic was gaining confidence in myself to run ITCO full time. I didn’t know if or when that transition would come in my endeavor but once it did, I knew I would never go back. After finding a calling where I genuinely felt money and prestige were irrelevant, I knew that I would pick In The Comfort Of time and time again.
That’s awesome. Nothing makes us happier than to see people taking a chance on themselves. For this campaign, could you share with us your art direction for the pieces curated for the set design?
Before you asked me to collaborate on this même. campaign, I had been thinking of designing a set for kids that embodied vintage, modern and playfulness. When you reached out to ask if I’d like to be a part of this project it felt like the universe was aligning with my intentions and dreams. Partnering up helped me be accountable in making my visions come to life.
When we were brainstorming ideas and direction for the project there were two main ideas that we integrated: one, oak tones, and two, Bauhaus.
When I think of well made vintage furniture I think of oak wood. I wanted to choose pieces that stood the test of time. The Bauhaus characteristics highlighted helped set the primary color story and emphasized the modern notes.
Lastly, I didn’t want to forget to have fun! The red pencil lamp is probably my favorite piece I sourced for this project because of its playful silhouette and functionality.
I mean, maybe we’re biased here, but you absolutely outdid yourself on the set. I appreciate that everything you do is very intentional and extremely well executed.
I noticed that with every story sale so far, you’ve made a commitment to paying real rent to the Duwamish Tribe. Can you give us some detail into this, and what it means for you?
I read a tweet of Delency Parham’s that said, “The first step of getting free is admitting you have a colonized mind. You have to accept that pretty much everything you come to understand about the human experience was taught to you from a white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal frame of thinking.”
For me, the pandemic has brought a lot of clarity on how the world works in what I believe to be a biased lens. I want to do my part in dismantling any degree of racism and I know that starts with me unlearning a colonized mind. As a person who occupies and benefits from the stolen Duwamish land, I believe that I should be paying respect and reparations to the Duwamish Tribe.
Wow, we’re one hundred percent in support of paying Real Rent. We’ll provide more information for readers on how they can find out whose land they live on and organizations to support.
What can we look forward to from In The Comfort Of? What are your hopes for the future?
My hopes for the future are to expand In The Comfort Of! I’m exploring different avenues of what that could look like at the moment so I’m hoping to share more details with you all soon.
We're looking forward to your growth! Before we let you go, we have some fun questions.
First up, what's your favorite corner of your home?
My dining area. The way the afternoon sun lights up that corner makes me feel magic every single time.
What are some words you’d use to describe your taste?
Architectural Italian, post modern, and mid century modern.
Is there an item you’ve found that you can’t seem to let go of?
When it’s time to relax, what scented candle are you indulging in?