As the coronavirus pandemic tragically escalates, designers have found themselves working from home, contemplating the future and thinking about how things will change once this is hopefully behind everyone — plus trying to determine what they can do to be helpful in this time of global crisis. Meanwhile, they, like many others worldwide, are trying to creatively use their time — cooking new dishes, practicing yoga, homeschooling their kids, reading or watching movies and more to keep themselves occupied.
With so many people’s lives upended, here’s what designers had to say as they are #WFH (working from home), although a few intrepid souls are still working from the office.
“I’m out East in the Hamptons trying to find the calm in the chaos. I’m maintaining my physical and spiritual practices, meditating in the morning and before bed. Practicing Pilates via Zoom with my instructor Kira S. Lamb. I take walks on the beach, take pictures, create color stories with rocks. I’m also working with my Urban Zen team daily focusing our efforts, nurturing our community digitally through e-commerce, Instagram, e-mail communication and video conferences. Communication, connecting, collaborating, creativity, community and change continue to be the driving force for everything that I do and more than ever I see this as a call to action. We’re working with Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, and our Urban Zen integrative therapists to figure out how we can help our health-care system. Locally we’ve made donations to God’s Love We Deliver, Food Banks NYC, Meals on Wheels and Sag Harbor Food Pantry to reach children affected by school closures and the elderly in need. There’s no going back, the world and our life will never be the same. Let’s take the time now to reflect, reset, appreciate nature, and create the change that we need for our future.”
“I’m doing a lot of FaceTime with friends and family and keeping up on what is going on in the news, making sure my family is safe, but otherwise exercising and playing backgammon with Dee [his wife].”
“I talk to my family wherever they are. I am working on a new book. I go on walks. I write my diary…I do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad while I listen to the news or books on Audible. I try to come up with ideas to help while not being able to move. I am trying to think what are the lessons to take from this.”
“Even before the current crisis I’ve always managed my different studios using a mix of digital and physical touch points. Nothing is more important than constant communication, whether on iMessage, WhatsApp, e-mail, etc. What makes this current situation unique is that deadlines themselves are not certain.
“Naturally I am an optimist, and I think the remedy for this situation is optimism and compassion. Creativity and our profession of design can be an escape. We’re able to channel spirited work in these dire times, and I do believe a more heartfelt world will emerge. My mode of thinking is using this time to reflect and research. YouTube is a tremendous resource for learning and short documentaries on just about any topic. I look at this time as a massive timeout. Our world was moving so fast, we can look at this as a much-needed rest and time for reflection in some aspects.”
“It took some time for me to get used to, but I’m finding a new balance now with working from home. Not being in the office, we had to adapt with using FaceTime and text messaging to communicate with each other working remotely these days. I’m finding ways to inspire myself, reconnecting with the simple things in life. Using this opportunity with being at home, I’m catching up on movies that I wanted to see like ‘Little Women,’ and ‘The Joker,’ and rewatching old favorites such as ‘Death Becomes Her’ and ‘Bring It On,’ to keep things lighthearted and fun. I also challenged myself to cook a new dish every night for dinner—meals that I’ve never made before. I successfully made my first pizza yesterday from scratch, which was really inspiring, and tonight I’m attempting Indian butter chicken with Naan bread and planning to share it on my new food journal @mrwueats.”
“I’ve always been a big reader, and if there is any silver lining to social distancing, it’s that I have more time to get through some of my to-be-read list. I just finished ‘Exhalation’ by Ted Chiang, which I loved, and started on Stephen King’s ‘It.’ It’s just what I need right now: it’s totally engrossing, and very long! Next on the list: ‘How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy’ by Jenny Odell, and ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman.
“My husband and I have also been watching a lot of great TV and movies. We’re particularly loving the new Hillary Clinton documentary.”
“For me, when it is chaos outside, I find it extremely comforting to keep busy by organizing….I’m no Marie Kondo, but, so far, my sock drawer looks amazing!! I have to spread the job out, though, in anticipation there may be more days ahead, which requires us to be home.”
“I took a knotting workshop awhile ago, so playing around with making some wall hangings. Finally using that stash of rope that’s been sitting in my garage.”
Emily Smith, creative director, Lafayette 148
“I would have never guessed how busy a day from home could be! Between the video chats with my teams, virtual fittings with our factory overseas and desperately trying to find surface space in my New York apartment to work on the spring 2021 color and concepts is getting interesting. There is something nice about working in a quiet environment, having good Eighties films on in the background and playing with color while going through my old books for inspiration…there are some good ones I forgot I had.”
“As with so many other business and community leaders, recent days have been dedicated to ongoing conversations and planning with our leadership team. All of us, everywhere, are needing to find new ways to connect and to be there for each other. I’m taking time to reflect on how potential breakthrough business models might impact the future and shift our culture. I do my best to invite movement into my daily routine — I’m able to think more clearly, understand the deeper wisdom of my body and relate to myself and others more openly. I love kundalini yoga and have a daily practice. It helps me stay grounded — something that’s more important than ever right now.”
“I’m alone in the office. I’m working on my own because I need to launch the collections — resort women, resort men and fashion show men’s. I’m using FaceTime and WhatsApp with all the others on the team. People are really learning to be more digital than ever. The big problem is not being able to have a fitting with a model. We send garments to our fit model or some people from the team try things on to test the fit. I tell my team, ‘Let’s be creative no matter what!’ We remain positive. My team is young and comes from all over the world. We just stay connected to each other.
“We need to go back to the roots, to no boundaries, no judgments. Fashion is now at a restart moment, and the system is completely re-questioned. Luxury is going to have a new meaning. Everything is going to be re-questioned. I think we need to be ready and propose some hope and some new ideas.”
“I can’t remember when I have ever stayed home so much, removing the terrible problem from your head for a while makes it really nice. To take my mind off the news, I have been working on resort, and my spring collection for QVC, cooking and eating, reading and eating, organizing my closets and eating. Somehow every activity or amusement goes back to eating. We came to Water Mill [New York] and now I’m focused on the spring clean-up outside. I feel fortunate to be able to come out here and enjoy the outdoors.”
“I am taking this time to literally slow down, stop and rethink my values and how I can evolve personally, and evolve my brand from this experience. I think this should be an important time of reflection and introspection for us all. On a lighter note, I am finally able to read the books I have been putting off due to my busy schedule — I am catching up on shows, and podcasts. I’m continuing to work out: I went running last night. Also, I keep up my daily routine of dancing by myself for at least an hour a day to pop, R&B and Bollywood music…then I whip out my karaoke machine and sing it out loud…no complaints yet!
“I am blessed that my mother lives in my building — we are practicing the 6-foot distance rule to keep us both, but especially her, safe. Her food has been healing, and her advice is enlightening as always. I am such a social person, so in order to stay sane I am finding ways to stay connected with loved ones virtually. I am doing this via text messages, phone calls, e-mails and above all Instagram Live chats. I connect with my followers and we share thoughts and ideas. If I am lucky, I am sometimes joined by fellow thought leaders like Phillip Lim and Tina Craig.
“This is truly a moment to take a pause, reflect on the past, assess the present and then think about ways to move forward. These solutions might not be immediate, so it’s important we create a channel of communication between our friends, peers, industry leaders, and each and every one of us from every tier. It’s important to share thoughts and ideas to try and work toward something powerful that allows us to come out on the other side of this stronger, more resilient than ever and above all kinder, empathetic and altruistic. It is also a time for us to allow each other to feel every emotion, and to validate their importance for one another. These are anxious times and it’s important that we listen with open hearts.
“One thing that this particular moment is teaching me is how during the time of crisis, basic raw human emotions and characteristics are displayed. We really get to see love, compassion and empathy alongside apathy, xenophobia and fear. The way I see it, we are all in this together and no one is alone. The first step to finding your community in a crisis is to be vulnerable and admit you are afraid, and ask for help. Inherently, the majority of the people in this world, given a choice between doing good and bad, will choose doing good. For we are humans with hearts that beat with empathy and love.”
“I actually worked until last Friday when I decided to stock up with books and magazines. The truth is that I haven’t opened one yet. My husband is working from home and, since the woman who helps us at home is currently not working, I’m taking care of the house. Every day I do the dishes, I clean, I vacuum and I do reorganize stuff. I’m really discovering the pleasure of taking care of the house and in a certain way I feel it’s therapeutic…while I reorganize things, I have the perception I’m also reorganizing myself. I have a busy life and I really never have the chance to enjoy my house. This is the right moment to do this, also considering that I feel super grateful to have a nice house with a lot of space for me and my husband. I’m fully aware that I’m super lucky because it’s not the same for everyone. In addition, I do yoga every day with online classes and I’m doing a lot of headstands, which help me to focus and reflect. After the practice, I meditate about 15 minutes. I usually do yoga early in the morning, but now being home I’m also discovering the pleasure for example of practicing at dusk. Also, finally, the treadmill I ordered has been delivered. This enables me to run 30 minutes a day….I knew that sport is important for me, but since the gyms have been shut down I really realized that it’s an essential part of my routine. And I’m cooking a lot…me and my husband are currently avoiding eating meat and fish. We are cooking a lot of vegetables, we are drinking a lot of green tea with ginger and turmeric infusions…it’s a way to fight the negative mood of this period. And I stopped watching Netflix, because I think the overall quality is not that great. Instead, I’m watching ‘Hunters’ on Amazon Prime Video and I think I’ll watch ‘1917’ again.”
“I am still working back to back on calls and e-mails and taking breaks to bake with my kids, cook all my meals, go on long walks, make friendship bracelets with my daughter and coloring!”
“The impact of the coronavirus in this moment is evident and for sure it changed my routine. Since a few days, I asked my team to work remotely and I’m in touch with them over the phone, via WhatsApp or we exchange ideas through video calls. Thanks to these tools, despite everything, we feel ‘virtually together’ as if we were in my studio. Obviously, I’m enjoying my house more and I feel lucky for this. It’s wide and sunny but above all surrounded by a green area. I spend much of my day in the library, where I can find a broad range of books on fashion and other topics and where I surf the Internet or draw. Naturally I cannot miss my Spotify playlists playing in the background! When I want to dedicate myself to reading, I do it immersed in the silence of nature surrounding me. I dedicate at least one hour of my time to physical activities either in my swimming pool and gym or running in the garden. I think it’s important to commit every day to this personal moment because it makes me feel good and restored. I have to say that, despite everything, I keep dealing with my projects also because my will and determination did not change. The moment is difficult, but I want to keep telegraphing a positive message and above all continuing to seek that dream of beauty that, I’m sure, will save us.”
“We had done a road trip to the Florida Keys, and on the way back drove through Savannah and Charleston, which are beautiful with spectacular architecture. But now we’re back in Bedford [N.Y.] hanging around the house. It’s a good time for me to reflect on what I want to do next, but the weather is so nice, I’m preparing the garden. It’s good to be in the country.”
“I truly wish I could tell you that I was home doing something to calm my nerves. I feel like we are in the midst of ‘small business triage’ and every waking minute is spent trying to deal with the ever-changing ‘new reality.’ Each couple of hours brings more trauma. If there is anything that I am trying to do to alleviate the heaviness and stay sane is to create lists of the ways to reinvent what we do to fit the future. I’m also doing this with my kids as an exercise to try and imagine what people will need at the end of this. I have always been entrepreneurial and I am trying to get my kids to think that way too…and they are just loving it (insert facetious emoji here).”
“I am currently working on an online initiative to support those who are struggling and/or most impacted during this difficult time. Stay tuned for more information in the coming days.”
“I work in the mornings while my husband homeschools our nine-year-old daughter Jacqueline. For the moment, I still have things to do as I usually work from home anyways. In the afternoon, I usually watch a film with my daughter who loves old Hollywood movies, right now we’re finishing an Audrey Hepburn DVD collection. She also helps me tidy my archives, which is fun as I have tons of evening dresses and accessories [that] are a lot of fun to try on. We have also started a card tournament all together where we play an Argentine card game called Carioca once a day.”
“With my extra home time, I have been cooking up a storm. I made some exotic Indian food — aloo masala, a potato dish and a fish curry, Meen Agassi. I got a lot of Asia spices so I can experiment. Also, I just got back from Thailand and Malaysia so I can experiment with those cuisines as well. Also, making steak au poivre tonight, one of my staples. I have stocked up on a lot of pasta and arborio rice at Eataly Fidi, too. So food wise, I think I’m set.
“I am also catching up on some reading — ‘Me: Elton John,’ ‘She’s a Rainbow: The Extraordinary Life of Anita Pallenberg: The Black Queen.’ ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewel, and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth,’ since I had seen the movie.
“We’ve been doing a lot of FaceTime group phone calls, trying to learn a new way to work. Doing lots of research. Trying to keep Netflix to a minimum!”
Mark Badgley and James Mischka
“We are working on our temporary outdoor ‘office’ at home in West Palm Beach. And homeschooling our three dachshunds!”
“I’m actually doing my best to stay optimistic and to share the optimism all around. Social media is really a good way to do it! Every morning I ritually do my workout then I spend my day between smart working and good reading. The evening sometimes is for special romantic dinners with my love.”
“Besides keeping the business running via FaceTime, as we are all working from home. I had a new baby girl, Alexandra Liv, just two months ago so I’ve been enjoying that with my fiancé. Have been keeping busy catching up on all our shows. We are currently finishing up ‘Fleabag.”’
John Moore, creative director, Outerknown
“I’m used to running out of the house early to get to the studio, so I’ve been enjoying mornings making pancakes for the family before remote school starts. I’ve been sketching and reading more — working on puzzles, too. Trying not to get overly consumed with the news, I’ve picked up magazines (yes, real magazines) that have been stacking up for a while, and catching up on podcasts. To curb the stress, I’ve been walking the dog between phone calls and video meetings, though, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the smiling faces of our staff on video calls, and seeing the optimistic correspondences of hope and understanding from our supply partners all over the world. Outerknown works in 11 nations including China and Italy and all of our partners are working together to get through this. These are unprecedented times, but my mind remains very hopeful, searching for answers, solutions, and deeper meaning, as the earth is getting some much-needed reprieve from the gross industrial impact we make every day.’”
Bobby Kim, cofounder and designer, The Hundreds
“One thing that’s been really helpful…is that I have kids at home that are five and seven, and I find them so inspiring. We are having to home school them now and every morning, I sit across from them at the kitchen table and…I give them the news, we are pretty transparent about the raw stuff. And I just watch them absorb it. They are so good at adapting, and so malleable, they don’t plan 20 years ahead, they are immediate, like what do I need? I need to be fed, I need my family, I need the roof over my head. That’s pretty much it. So I check in with them every day and ask if they are sad, and they say, ‘well, I miss my friends.’ And I miss my friends, too. But if I said we’re moving to Nicaragua, they’d say ‘OK.’ For me, that would be very complicated. I would have a lot of heartache, stress and anxiety about it. But I watch them and say, ‘I used to able to do that, and I can do that again.’ I just got so set in my routines and expectations of what the world is supposed to be that it’s hard for me to break that mold. I need to adapt. Everyday it’s a new normal, it’s new rules, but what do we need? The essentials. Right now, I’m fed, I’m sheltered, and I have my family. That’s all it was ever really about anyway.”
“Right now I’m just trying to be present and breathe. I’ve been cooking all of the dishes from my cookbook, ‘More Than Our Bellies,’ and sharing them on my Instagram. For me, food is love. I started cooking because I missed my mom, and cooking during this time is generating memories filled with love that are helping me through this. Through food and intention, I am able to feel my mom’s presence in the kitchen and it reminds me to be grateful. I hope that sharing my recipes can help the people connect with their loved ones in a time where we can’t interact face to face.”
“It’s a different world. We’re bombarded with very difficult news. We’re all devastated. It’s not a situation we’re used to, and it’s all quite scary. Our hope for the future is to bring back beauty and we have to work hard to make it happen.
“It’s been a few days [since the lockdown] and we have to adapt to new surroundings, to not work as a team, but to work as individuals. It’s a moment when we’re going back to the essence of things. I’m hoping that it’ll be over soon so we can go back to doing what we’re used to doing. I believe we are going to find a way together and we’re going to make it happen. I’m a person who is always pessimistic in the short term, but optimistic in the long term.
“Designers are like antennae: we are catching things, feelings and attitudes. That’s where design starts. That will bring something different to fashion, a new perspective.”
“We are simultaneously designing cruise, which is supposed to be presented by the middle of June, and spring 2021. It’s difficult to work when you have a design team. It’s not the same to work over Skype, phone or e-mail. We really have to improvise. It’s only been two days now. It’s really hard.
“We may have to meet up at some point. When you have to commission a piece of brocade, or piece of tweed, or inspect an embroidery, it’s hard to do remotely. And we’re known for our handcraft, details and fabrics.
“That said, hardship and difficulties will push creativity to the maximum. We know we have to create desire. There’s a trend back to maximalism, and after a crisis, people will want something special. This is the time to create something exceptional.”
Johnny Coca, who is leaving as creative director of Mulberry
“Designers are always running and flying around, and there is never time to stop and think. What I’m going to do is make an inventory of my clothes and shoes, what I wear, what I don’t wear, what needs to be cleaned or given away. I love buying ready-to-wear from all different brands, so now it’s time to understand what’s actually there.”
Ludovic de Saint Sernin
“I haven’t actually stopped working because my studio is also my apartment, which is quite lucky. I really want to do as much as I can to continue to engage with my community and keep up the good work. We actually just released these gorgeous incense burners, which I love because they’re the perfect little piece of ceramic that will give you a peaceful and quiet energy for the confinement. And when I am done, I love watching British shows on Netflix, like ‘Doctor Foster’ or ‘The Stranger.’ I also love ‘Killing Eve’ with a delicious glass of white wine — you’re sure to have a good night alone or with your quarantine companion!”
“The situation is difficult. I sympathize with everyone, especially those who are sick and all the carers who are doing incredible work. Everyone must make the effort to isolate in order to protect ourselves from this virus. I make the most of the confinement to get ahead in my work. I’m in contact every day with my team and we’re going forth with our projects, because I have hope that we are going toward a better future. I draw and paint, watch the news and make good use of my free time to chat on the phone with certain of my close friends.”
Aurélien Arbet, cofounder and creative director, Etudes Studio
“While this period is mostly spent working and catching up with the Études team, the best part — when I have a minute — is being able to dig through my collection of artist books and vinyl records. It is rare to spend so much time close to this special material. I am sure some new ideas will come out of this situation.”
Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins
“As we are a couple both in real life and in work, even when isolated, we manage to combine our personal and professional lives. We make the most of the situation by sleeping a little later in the morning, having breakfast in bed, cooking together and living like a real couple — something we can’t necessarily do during fashion week or just by being part of this industry and its crazy rhythm! It also means we can continue working. Even if the future is a bit uncertain, we want to stay positive and think about our next collection.”
“I usually love to spend time alone at home, I do that quite frequently, but being in quarantine is very different. I’m listening to a lot of music, in particular songs from my teenage years, which I had totally forgot. I’m training a lot because I feel the need to keep moving and I’m watching a lot of Netflix. I’ve started ‘Elite,’ which people love, but I’m at the third episode and I’m not sure I like it. I’m rewatching ‘Downton Abbey,’ which I love, as well as ‘Desperate Housewives’ — that’s my favorite series ever. I’m also watching again and again all the movies by Ferzan Özpetek, my favorite director. And I’m working a lot on the pre-collections for both my brand and Blumarine. The fact that I’m home with a lot of time enables me to keep making changes and trying to sketch better and better things, which is good and bad at the same time, especially because it makes thing slower.”
“I still go to the company every day, because our factory is open and I’m currently designing the women’s pre-fall and men’s spring collections. Luckily, the company is just five minutes by car from my house. We are reconsidering the way we work in every different area and it’s challenging. Every day I talk to the people in the factory and we try to help them with some extra comforts. For example, we organized a system to have the grocery shopping delivered at their houses. I have to say that I feel grateful because everyone is super collaborative. I feel also lucky because when I look out the window I see the beauty of nature and that spring is coming. That brings a touch of positivity to our everyday life in such a difficult moment.”
“Since the virus gripped Milan, myself and my business have had to mobilize in a whole new way. We’ve had all of our events canceled — including ones to celebrate our collaboration with Fabrizio Viti at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and with Sotheby’s in London this week — and my entire company is now working from home, activated at their laptops and keeping our beautiful business running. Same for me. I’m at home, which I only moved into three weeks ago, with my dog Pepper for company and in between endless conference/WhatsApp/Skype calls — not only with my staff but also with concerned relatives and friends in need — and reaching out to our DoubleJ community on our Instagram Stories, I am trying to unpack boxes, organize my space and in the last couple of days, build my altar! It’s hard being cut off, especially as a designer; it’s extremely difficult to design a new resort collection remotely, which is what we’re trying to do. But I’ve found that it’s important to also make time to reflect, meditate, breath through what is happening to us and around us — so is getting out of my sweatpants and putting on joyful, mood-boosting colorful clothes the same way I would if I was going into the office or meeting friends.”
“I’m facing this difficult moment with bitterness but also rationally and with a sense of responsibility. On a personal level I’m living my quarantine privileging the wellness of the body and mind. Professionally, I managed to deliver the upcoming pre-collection and men’s lineup and I spend much of my daytime focusing on the research of international emerging designers, an activity that unfortunately I don’t usually have time to do. We will need to rethink a lot of things and get back [to regular life] with strength and enthusiasm bringing quality and content at the center.”
Lorenzo Serafini, creative director, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
“We’re all confined at home and it looks like a surreal scenario putting us under pressure. During these days I’m continuing to develop the upcoming resort 2021 collection. Conference calls and group chats have become the only tools to work from home and this activity projected toward the future helps me keep a positive mood. I don’t watch Netflix series, but I discovered that regular reading is the most effective antidote to discouragement. I picked cheerful and vintage books such as novels by Jackie Collins and David Leavitt. During a sleepless night, I decided to create a Spotify account for Philosophy to which I’m adding my favorite songs by artists ranging from Amanda Lear to Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Blondie’ and Brian Ferry, to keep company to those who still believe in the power of music to travel and dream.”
“I’m spending my quarantine at home in Longiano, a very small village near Cesena, 10 km from the factory. To spend so much time at home feels unprecedented. As most people in the business, I am always traveling, and I never stop. During these days, I organize a lot of calls with my design and development teams. I am trying my best to keep some sort of normal routine. I am having lunch (and dinner) at home every day, and this is totally new for me. It means healthier food, a lot of vegetables and fresh eggs from my hens. This new routine will help me reconnect with nature and losing some weight (at least). I spend most of the day in my new home office that I have set up for the time being and I walk my dog Leone within my property. What strikes me the most these days is silence: there is no traffic, no noise, nobody is loud anymore, we all whisper…I’ve learned to listen to silence and to myself. I really hope that this tragic nightmare will lead to a new balance in everybody’s life at least.”
Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini, founder, The Attico
“We are going through a difficult moment: our daily lives have been turned upside down and we find ourselves forced at home, from where we are working together with our team remotely. Fortunately, none of us has been affected by the virus, but knowing that Italy and the world are in this situation make us live in a state of alert. It’s not easy to plan the work of the upcoming months while everything has stopped, but we think it is important to do it to start again soon and stronger than before.
“The opportunity to access many museums virtually gives us the chance to find inspirations and ideas that we would not have thought of in a different situation: from the daily #innerviews of Fondazioine Prada to the possibility of visiting distant museums such as the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the virtual itinerary of Art Basel offered by Galleria Massimo De Carlo. The time that has necessarily [slowed down] enables us to think in a new dimension, slower but also deeper. Obviously there is also time to think about ourselves so we do Pilates and online workout sessions, take care of our bodies, follow ‘Vogue Beauty Secrets’ on YouTube, read and listen to lots of music.”
“It’s nice to reconcile with the world through manual work. When it is nature that commands, we must obey. I spend time embroidering. Embroidering takes time, patience, ability, concentration and lightness. Chatelaines used to embroider while they waited for the knights to return from the wars; ladies of good families used to embroider while their men traveled to discover new worlds; our grandmothers had always done it to embroider all that trousseau of sheets, towels and blankets that would have been used to set up a first home. Let’s remember it when all this will be over. The world needs our hands to reconcile with nature.”
Carolina Castiglioni, creative director, Plan C
“With my family we decided to stay in the mountains for a while. It’s really a terrible moment for everyone, but at the same time, I think we have to appreciate the positive aspects of this quarantine. My day is fully dedicated to my children. It’s challenging but I’m also learning a lot. We watch together the school videos, we try to understand the things they have to learn using creativity sometimes. We are all learning to do new things together. In the afternoon, I work and I try to stay active, but before I always take a break on the terrace enjoying the sun.”
Cesare Casadei, creative director, Casadei
“I’m immersing myself into art, music, comics and everything that can stimulate my imagination to work on the spring 2021 [collection] and to escape. I also spend time at home with my wife, Alessandra, and Blade, my three-year-old dog.”
Anine Bing, founder and chief creative officer, Anine Bing
‘While I adapt to working from home, I’m also juggling being with the kids who are now at home, too. In the mornings, we’re doing the kids’ homework before I start the day’s work. The kids have been joining in, helping with ‘at home’ content shoots I’ve been filming as we all get used to our new routines. We have been taking lunchtime walks for fresh air as a family and I try to find some time to meditate when I feel anxious. The silver lining of this unprecedented situation is getting to spend more time with my kids, who motivate me everyday.”
Hannah Weiland, creative director and founder, Shrimps
“As I am six months pregnant and in the higher risk category, I have left London and am working from the countryside, so I feel very lucky that I get to go outside and walk amongst the fields of uplifting daffodils. I do think fresh air and being around nature if possible is so important for staying positive. Working from home is a completely new experience and one my team and I are just getting into; [but] so far so good. We are doing team meetings on Google hangouts and have WhatsApp groups for specific projects.”
“I am grateful that myself and my team are able to work from home during this time. We currently start the day with a team meeting on Zoom, so we can all check in with each other and run through tasks for the day. We stay in constant communication through messaging, calls and e-mail throughout the day, which I think keeps us all feeling connected and positive. I am valuing spending more time at home with my family, cooking and playing with my son Luka, which is keeping me very active at the moment.”
Olivia von Halle
“I think for many people working from home, switching off at the end of the day is one of the greatest challenges, but it’s so essential in order to avoid burnout. I try to draw a line between work time and me time and have found that creating an evening ritual allows me to move mentally — if not physically — into a new space. I’m a huge fan of baths and have the whole ritual down to a fine art. I turn my phone onto airplane mode, run myself a super hot bath with Jo Malone bath oils and unwind in the tub for an hour or two with a good book and a G&T, before slipping into my favorite jaguar print pajamas. It is more important than ever to practice appreciation and find joy in the everyday.”
“Day to day, I have honestly just been blasting King Princess or [Antonio] Vivaldi, changing my outfits around every hour, sewing away and brainstorming. I have a huge board and keep pinning ideas and concepts, too, as it’s important to visually see what you want to achieve. I keep reminding myself the best work in my opinion comes in situations where you have to truly work with what you have right in front of you.”
Charlie Hedin, creative director, Tekla
“People start to realize the essential role of small things at their homes, which makes them feel in balance, whether it’s the tranquility of lighting up a candle, fresh flowers or reading a new book. I recently bought a lot of design and photo books, which I am excited about diving into. Time to step back and reflect.”
Ashlynn Park, creative director, Ashlyn New York
“I mostly watch the news and documentaries like ‘Pandemic,’ and ‘Our Planet’ from Netflix. Also studying about new viruses and teaching that to my kids why this pandemic happened and what should we do for our futures. People call this infection a zoonotic infection between species. And I also learned there is another opinion that Earth’s climate warming can bring hidden diseases in ice. It throws me the question about how to react and fight with these changes. How to adapt ’sustainability’ to the direction on the brand. I think it is not a time to have more clothing. It’s about having less but better quality so that the objects live longer with our life. Despite a lot of concerns, I try to be positive and think and develop the next smart season because this it the only thing I can do now.”
Charaf Tajer, founder and creative director, Casablanca
“I’m currently researching and starting to design the next collection while I’m in Hawaii for a photo shoot. Every day, I do 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and at night. I also do breathing exercises to help find inner peace and calm my anxiety during this stressful time for all of us. [We] need to remember it’s a temporary moment. One of my favorite movies I’ve been rewatching is the ‘The Darjeeling Limited’; it’s beautifully made and not stressful. I also love to listen to Brazilian music and find it brings joy and positivity. My favorite artists are Jorge Ben, Joao Gilberto and Seu Jorge. It’s super relaxing. I love to share positivity and beauty and in times like these, we cannot sink into darkness. Have to keep those negative thoughts away.”
Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, cofounders and codesigners, Ottolinger
“It’s a surreal feeling not being able to operate the way we are used to. Spring is finally here so the quarantine time is super bizarre but also interesting, and it feels like being a teenager — back in my mountain village again where the only way to connect was via phone and Internet — no bars or restaurants. Like now again — and we really enjoy being home and have long phone calls again. Other than that, we go running — there is no one around in the countryside anyways — work, read and we love cooking, so we cook a lot. Every day I create new special projects, yesterday I knotted friendship bracelets for the time we can all meet again, tonight I will start working on a salt dough project. Cosima just told me that she has a carrot cake project. All in all, it’s a feeling of being back in the future.”
Chris Leba, creative director and chief executive officer, R13
“These past few days have felt like a lifetime. We at R13 have had to make vast changes to adjust to our new reality with COVID-19 at the center. My days that used to be consumed with going into the office, are now focused around spending time with my two lovely daughters, Bella and Daisy, watching the ‘Frozen’ series. When I do have time for myself, I spend it exercising my body, doing burpees and sit-ups because in times like this, great physical health is vital to maintain.”
Christian Juul Nielsen, creative director, Hervé Leger, and founder and creative director of AKNVAS
“I’ve set up an entire workspace at home. Currently working on three different collections, (Hervé Leger, Hervé Leger Capsule and AKNVAS) plus a charity project, so I don’t have much time to kill. In addition to work, I’m reading ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith, categorizing images on my iPhone, and practicing ‘Frozen 2’ songs in Danish to impress my six-year-old niece.”
“While I am at home, in my free time, I like to take care of the many plants we have here in my apartment. Re-planting them, moving them around, cleaning them, changing the ground….We have about 35 plants in the house, ZZ Plant, Chinese Money plant, Bunny Ear cactus, Fiddle Leaf Fig, Rubber Plant, Araucaria, Ficus Tree, Hedge Cactus, among others.
“Another activity that I do when I am home for a longer period is to read and reread my old — and recent — comics. I have a big collection of Belgian and French ones, very diverse. They vary from a series I was reading as a child to science-fiction or more historical ones. Reading the same story over and over is very relaxing and comforting, it also brings back some memories from my childhood. Some of these stories include the Tintin series [and characters] such as Adèle Blanc Sec, Aldebaran, Persepolis, Largo Winch, Quai d’Orsay, Le Chat, Alix, Blake and Mortimer, Antares, Asterix, ‘La Patrouille des Castors.’”
Christina Zeller, artistic director, Delvaux
“Work as Delvaux’s artistic director never really stops, so I’m having a lot of work-related things done from home. I have been indulging in a guilty little pleasure though: I downloaded all of the music I was listening to when I was 18. Quite the eclectic musical selection of Gilbert O’Sullivan, The Carpenters, Roberta Flack and the Bee Gees! A trip down memory lane in anticipation for better days to come….”
“Finally got the time to make my hair pinker….”
“This week has been about concepting for the season ahead and sketching new ideas and silhouettes. I spent the last couple of weeks in Europe with friends after Paris market, spending time in Berlin and Tbilisi, so have had a break and some time to think about new ideas. Since working from home, I’ve been able to focus these new ideas into concepts, working with my design team over FaceTime and Zoom calls to stay connected.”
Hanako Maeda, chief executive officer and creative director, Adeam
“It’s been helpful for me to take a short afternoon break while working at home, to keep my concentration going. Since I’m spending more time at home, I’ve taken up baking, and made healthy sweets such as gluten-free banana bread or vegan strawberry jelly with kanten agar. These desserts have been a perfect afternoon treat to break from a day of e-mails, phone calls and Skype meetings.”
James Miller, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, The Collected Group (Current/Elliott, Equipment and Joie)
“My partner, Eric Rutherford, is finding the adjustment having me home perhaps a little distracting. I’ve taken to sneaking around taking photos of him trying to work, hiding in corners and generally looking for any way to avoid me. It’s very amusing…but that’s possibly just for me. I’m now mesmerized by ‘The Real Housewives’ franchise. This past weekend I tried a marathon run to see how many cast members were wearing some of our brands. Never fails to make me laugh when I see Kyle Richards in Equipment or a New York City housewife in Joie. True lockdown escapism at its best!”
Jane Gottschalk, creative director and chief branding officer, Perfect Moment
“I seem to be the only person I know who hasn’t watched the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, much to my friend’s annoyance. Eight seasons, here we come! Now is a great time to do something you’ve been putting off. I’m signing up to the Said Online Leadership course at Oxford University — I’ve been wanting to do it for months now but always pushed it back as not being a priority. I have to admit, I’ve already slipped back into workout gear as daily wear. With so many dogs and five kids, it’s also a good excuse to ‘sample’ the Perfect Moment activewear and feel comfortable and relaxed under the guise of ‘I’m about to work out.’ It’s a good time to let your hair find its natural oil levels — and find out your friend’s natural hair colors!”
Jeff Rudes, chief executive officer and creative director of L’Agence
“In reality, we are working hard on our go forward strategy with our customers. Once that is worked out, I’ll then watch movies in my theater. I’m looking forward to watching ‘Gone With the Wind’ — it’s a better war story than the one we’re living in now.”
Michael Saiger, creative director, Miansai
“Our family will be making use of this time to do some spring cleaning and spending time with [baby] Sunny while designing our latest collection from home or out paddle boarding in our backyard.”
Siying Qu, codesigner, Private Policy
“I started the new morning ritual of lighting a Diptyque Geranium Rosa candle and turn on Tibetan Bowls sounds, and meditate, focusing on breathing, which is nice to have a calming moment early morning. Work from home is busier than I thought it would be. Busy energy is good for keeping a workaholic like me sane. I also try to add exercises at home, from washing hands 10 times a day, to planks, to finally enjoy my dance mat video game, like ‘Dance, Dance Generation,’ but the fun times. At night, our friends started video chat Happy Hour drinks or even dressed up night ‘in’ party. Instagram filters do help to create all the party looks and club neon scenes. Also, there are amazing DJs doing live videos. Mainly just keeping the positive vibe, sending love, stay calm and carry on!”
Haoran Li, codesigner, Private Policy
“I started to cook a lot more since I did not have time to cook in normal days. And I feel my diet is healthier more than ever before. I post them on Instagram sometimes, too. I have been doing a lot more online research for the new collection now since I am staying at home all day long. Also, I am following a list of different fitness YouTuber’s routines about in-home workouts since I have been staying in for the past week except for grocery shopping. Nintendo Switch becomes my best friend, ‘Just Dance’ is my new workout buddy and also I’m trying to ‘catch em all’ in my Pokemon Sword game.”
Scott Studenberg, cofounder and creative director, BAJA EAST
“I work from home normally so not much has changed since the public restrictions have taken place. When I’m not working, I spend my time at home watching TV — really just ‘Love Island AU’ season two — cuddling with my dogs and taking CBD baths. I’ve used this time to focus on self-care such as rejoining dating apps and having flowers delivered to keep my days bright. Also I continue to get myself dressed for work and photograph my outfits daily.”
Sue Jung, founder and creative director, Common Odds
“Under current circumstances, which involuntarily slow things down, I am trying to spare some quiet time by disconnecting myself from constantly being alert from ongoing news to flip through some of my favorite art and design books and watch movies to look for inspirations, which helps take my mind off current affairs. I recently watched Luca Guadagnino’s movie, ‘The Staggering Girl’ and started rewatching my favorite Éric Rohmer movies, which are full of vintage colors and styles from the Sixties to the Eighties.”
“On day three of my quarantine upstate, I work on e-mails awaiting fall 2020 order confirmations, while combining resort and spring 2021 design development. All in an effort to keep my business afloat. Besides that, I plan to take this time to leisurely catch up with old The New Yorker issues and to read books. I row and take daily walks. My Paris Pilates teacher Verena started a ’21 Days of Abundance’ meditation WhatsApp group, which I adore and forward to friends and family. Upcoming plans include farm work — which I’ve never done! I want to use this unprecedented time to discover new interests outside of fashion.”
Read more from WWD:
Prada Extends Support to Fight Coronavirus, Geox Donates 1M Euros
Coronavirus Impact: Chicago Retailers Brace for Long Closures
Influencer Marketing in the Time of the Coronavirus
WATCH: Behind the Seams With Christian Cowan
Launch Gallery: Designers at Home: What They’re Doing to Stay Sane and Entertained
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