• Martin Rybak

STAYING AT HOME WITH...

WE ASKED 14 ULTRA CREATIVE PEOPLE (FROM MUSIC TO FASHION) HOW THEY ARE FEELING AT THE MOMENT, HOW THEY ARE FACING ISOLATION, WHAT LONELINESS MEANS TO THEM AND WHAT INFLUENCE COVID-19 HAS ON THEIR WORKFLOW.


STAY AT HOME AND STAY SAFE #QUARANTINEWITHIRK

ps: there is a quiz halfway through the article

article by: @martinmanuelry illustration by: @sandroryry


OTTOLINGER


Ottolinger is the Berlin-based design duo Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient who are presenting their collections since several seasons at the Paris Fashion Week. Their ultra-creative garments were described as "an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independence" and were worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.

(Photo by Mathilde Agius)


Where and how are you spending the current lockdown? 


We are in Berlin right now. Our whole team is working remotely and switched to biking. Life here changed a lot - as we are both living in neighborhoods with a lot of bars, cafes, and restaurants. It’s springtime now when we all would start to sit outside in restaurants and bars - we would start spending more time outside than at home. But since it’s all closed now, our cooking skills improved a lot and we can’t wait to cook for all our friends soon!


Are you feeling inspired at the moment? In which things (such as books, movies or activities) do you find inspiration at the moment? 


The fact that we are staying most of the time at home, gives us room to read and research more. It feels like the time slowed down and that we can dive deeper into our thoughts and creativity. The limited access to consuming gives us more room to create and we are not getting disturbed in our thinking and doing. It’s books and interviews which inspire us a lot - we are very curious in general and reading all kinds of things. It’s at the moment ‚Strangers in their own land‘ from Arlie Russel Hochschild about the Trump paradox, Susanne Kippenberger writing about her artist brother in ‚Kippenberger, The Artist and His Families‘ and we just ordered ‚Vagabonds‘ by Hao Jingfang and translated by one of our all-time favorite Ken Liu.


Is isolation in general something that is a source of inspiration for you as designers in a sense that you need to be alone to find inspiration and new ideas?


In general, we both don't have the time to socialize due to our workflow.  We also need to be alone to be inspired and get fresh energy - but we also like to be with people, both in a good balance. Insolation is different as we don’t have the option, this makes it a bit hard. But we keep active and focus on our creativity.


What are some of the challenges you are facing as designers at the moment due to the lockdown? 


Personally we are facing the challenges not to be able to see our partners which are in a different part of Europe right now. Professional as a designer the biggest challenge is that the lockdown is not good for the fashion business.

Society wise we are facing huge challenges as limited access to healthcare, not working social security, even bigger crisis in overcrowded refugee camps, and many more.

If we zoom out it all gets very perspective and our challenges as designers in Europe are getting very manageable.


If you were forced to create a garment with a slogan on it right now, what would the slogan be? 


Tentin Quarantino


more: www.ottolinger.com


ALMA


The Finnish singer and songwriter ALMA released her smash hits Karma and Chasing Highs back in 2016. Since then she became a pop sensation collaborating with artists such as Charli XCX, Kim Petras and Miley Cyrus. ALMA's debut album "Have You Seen Her?" is out 15th of May.


HANNAH DIAMOND


The English singer, songwriter, photographer and visual artist Hannah Diamond creates music and visual art according to her own exaggerated bubble gum vision of what a pop star should sound and look like nowadays. By using topics such as idolization and identity and turning them into songs, Hannah became a kind of internet sensation - an alternative underground version of Britney Spears. Hannah Diamond's new remix EP is out now.

Are you affected by the current lockdown? How does it affect your everyday life and what changed since we are forced to stay at our homes? 

On a personal level, I miss all my friends a lot I haven't had a hug for over a month :'( and I miss my family and my dog who is with my mum and am worried about them a lot. Having crazy dreams and nightmares and my OCD about cleaning is really off the charts but I'm going with it for now since its a useful problem to have atm. I feel like I'm living way more of my life online at the moment to stay connected with people and not feel so lonely. Work stuff is weird, both jobs I do - being a photographer and a music artist have been put on hold. Working for my self for the past 5/6 years has prepared me pretty well for isolation. I usually work from home most Monday to Fridays on my own or with an assistant, so I've had practice at creating my own timetable and routines to stay busy and motivated. I'm finishing up a shoot I already shot, and I'm doing what I can to keep working on music and doing a lot of research and things I don't normally have time to get really deep into when I'm busy juggling doing both things. I guess I'm putting in work to speculatively potentially have an income again when this is over? Being self-employed makes it a bit stressful I don't get paid for being off sick / or not being able to work because I pay my self, so I have a lot to work out - but I know I am incredibly fortunate that what I do means I am able to stay at home and be safe and semi carry on with what I had started before the lockdown.

What changed for you as an artist? What are the biggest challenges for artists like you at the moment? And did you find any new ways of connecting with your listeners and fans such as via live streaming "gigs" from your home on social media?


I'm connecting with a lot of people I've not had the chance to work with before. I feel like before this especially working on music stuff felt like you had to be in the same room/country even to be able to do a session with someone. The conversations would go "hit me up next time ur in...."  But I guess everyone being all in the same situation and spending a lot more time online has made the world feel smaller. I've been doing online sessions with people in LA and I feel more connected rn with my friends who live all over the world than I usually do. I played Club Quarantine a couple of weeks ago - that was really fun, used a weird mixture of photography equipment and limited music equipment I have at my place to set up a little green screen rig and I played all my favorite hardcore tracks. I played pink and blue at the end that was my fave moment was so cute being able to see everyone dancing in their rooms to it. I'm chatting to lots of my fans on Dm atm too on Instagram, and having some super interesting conversations and sharing stuff to listen to and watch that feels really good and inspiring.


In your song " invisible" you sing about being alone: "I’m scared of what I’ll see so I’ll stay home tonight". Does being alone feel reassuring sometimes? What are the positive and negative aspects of isolation and loneliness for you and for your work as an artist? 


I feel like I'm good at being on my own. I don't always like it but I need to be on my own sometimes to think and process stuff. I feel the freest to make stuff and put all my ideas down when I'm on my own because I have space to try things and make mistakes without feeling judged.

If you were forced to spend the lockdown with 3 people from the music industry, who would it be and why?


SOPHIE, Guy Sigsworth and AG cook. Sophie, because I love her so so much. Being around her is super calming and wholesome feels like being with family. A G cos I know we would watch some crazy films and probs laugh a lot and Guy because I've been working with him lots lately and I learn so much every time we work together, he's super interesting and he just knows so much he has a really similar approach to making music as me and AG! I think we would all have some super intense inspiring conversations and it would be potentially nuts but we would make some insanely good music. 


If you were forced to listen to the same 5 songs during the lockdown, which ones would it be? 


DJ Sammy - Heaven, Janet Jackson - Every time, Britney - Unusual You, Robyn - Call your Girl Friend, Troye Sivan - Plum 


Did you work on any new projects during the lockdown? 

I'm working on a few different things at the moment, that I'm really excited about. But I don't want to say what because it instantly puts a tonne of pressure on things. I'm enjoying the pause in the rat race at the moment. It's helping me to feel inspired and creative. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just that I hope everyone's doing ok and that I'm super thankful to everyone who is still working doing essential jobs and especially those working in healthcare who are risking their lives to look after everyone.  


LITTLE BOOTS


Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots is the English singer, songwriter, and DJ who won the BBC Sound of 2009 and released her critically acclaimed debut album "Hands" the same year. Since then she released two more albums and several EP's, became a DJ, and created her own record label.


Little Boots is hosting a live stream gig and chat every Thursday at 4pm from her home studio, and a pop music quiz later the same night at 8pm. Find her on Facebook or Instagram for details.

Where and how are you spending the current lockdown? How does it make you feel and what does it change in your everyday life?


I am spending lockdown isolating in the North West of England with my family. It is pretty strange, in some ways it feels like Boxing Day forever… as the only other time we all live and cook and hang out together like this is Christmas, so it's confusing like a never-ending Christmas but without the presents and more anxiety. We are lucky to have much more space here than my current place in London, I’ve set up a makeshift studio where I can live stream from, I do weekly gigs and also host a weekly Pop Music Quiz with my friend which has been getting quite a following! I think its important to have ways to connect with people and keep structure and have fun and feel a sense of community more than ever in these times.


In your song « Mistake » you sing about how "loneliness is healing". What are the positive aspects of loneliness and temporary isolation for you as an artist?


When I wrote that I was referring to feeling lonely after a breakup, whenever I felt that way I would say to myself when you feel lonely you are missing yourself. So it's a time to focus on yourself and self-care, take time thinking about what is important and gives you meaning in life and put the energy you usually spend on others and distractions back into yourself. It can be an amazing period of self-reflection and growth if you reframe it as a positive thing.

Your song "New in Town" also deals with being new somewhere and having no one. At what point in your career did you felt the most lonely and how did you face this negative feeling?


I wrote that song one of the first times I went to LA on my own to write songs and I spent a lot of time driving around alone and hanging out in my hotel room. I just wanted someone to take me under their wing and show me around and unlock the secrets of the city. But the bottom line is its really just down to you to go out and make that happen, find your people and places. Nowhere or no one is gonna do that for you it's really just up to you, everything is what you make of it.


What are some things that inspire you at the moment while being forced to stay at home? Are there any books, music, or activities that inspire you the most during this lockdown?


It's been interesting having to slow down and really take time. I’ve been working producing my own songs more than ever before as I can’t get in the room with other people, so its kind of the kick I needed. I’ve been playing a lot of piano, learning new Chopin and Beethoven pieces. I love to see what other people are doing online, getting creative with live streams, or ways to socialize or share what they are creating. I think once people start to accept this is a long haul it pushes them to be more creative which as a society could be incredibly exciting if you think about it. Hopefully lots of new art and inventions and all sorts!


A lot of artists are streaming live from their living rooms now due to being forced to stay at home. If you could choose 3 music artists to go live with on social media, who would it be?


Yaeji, Celine Dion, Jarvis Cocker.


If you could only listen to 3 songs during the quarantine, which ones would it be?


Abba The Day Before You Came. Leo Sayer You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. Kate Bush The Man With The Child In His Eyes.


Are you working on any new projects at the moment such as a new song or even an album?


I’m working on a new record, my fourth full-length album, which I’m about to launch as a project on Patreon. So people will have a chance to be a part of the whole process from behind the scenes right from the beginning, from early song ideas, demos and lyrics through to visual ideas, mixing, the whole journey. Over the last few years, I’ve been working more and more directly with my fans and its a hugely rewarding way of doing things, so this feels like this is the next natural step and it could be a really exciting way of working, getting feedback the whole way.

I’m also working on some collaborations, I think this will be a big period of productivity for musicians everywhere. The only issue could be so much competition once everyone has everything ready to release more or less at the same time!


LÅPSLEY


Holly Lapsley Fletcher known as Låpsley is an English singer, songwriter, and producer who released her debut album "Long Way Home" in 2016. Her second critically acclaimed Album "Trough Water" underlines her talent to write highly poetic lyrics and create the perfect electronic soundscape to go along with each song.

(Photo by Alexandra Waespi)


Where and how are you spending the lockdown? How does this forced isolation affect your everyday life and your life as an artist?


I went to my hometown to stay at my parents a week before lockdown and I’ve been here since. It’s by the sea and there’s a lot of open space so it feels completely different to the chaos of London right now. We are lucky to have a big garden and so I’ve not felt trapped in the same way my peers without balconies or open space have been telling me. I managed to create a small home studio set up here just before lockdown, borrowing various pieces of equipment of friends, and I have the 'dining room' to myself so I’ve been able to carry on making music. I spend a lot of time on my own in my studio in London anyway, and I love to cook a lot in the mornings, so in that regard it’s only my evenings that have changed.


As an artist, you might be used to being temporarily isolated to write and produce an album for example. How does isolation and being temporarily alone influence you in a positive way and how does it inspire you?


It can go two ways, there’s definitely a pressure to create because you know you should use this time as an opportunity, and I feel pressure never equals a good creative flow for me because it feels forced. I am enjoying the slower pace of life and taking it day by day, so far I have been pretty productive. It has given me the chance to reflect, be thoughtful, and thankful. Reflection is a great source to tap into as a writer. Feelings change in hindsight and I like writing about that.


Your new album « Through Water » was written and produced by yourself. It seems like you don’t need a lot of writers or producers while creating an album. How did this aspect of loneliness and maybe even isolation help you in writing and producing your new album?


Although I did write and produce and lot of the record myself, I spent a lot of time with Joe Brown, who entered the scene originally as an engineer for me nearly 3 years ago now, and then he ended up co-writing and co-producing parts of this record with me as we became best friends. I miss the hours I would spend with him. We also share a studio together in London. I ask him lots of questions and respect his opinion and our discussions have been a vital part of me navigating my production style. It’s important to challenge yourself and he always challenges me, so I need to be able to scrutinize my own work more now that I don’t have that resource.


What are the drawbacks of isolation for you? How are you dealing with the challenges of being alone such as when working on an album?


The lack of social contact can be a lonely experience. It helps to remind myself the reasons why we are isolating and seeing this as a temporary, momentary period where we just have to do as we are told, rather than focusing on my individual qualms with being told to stay in my parents ‘large house with a large garden and a home studio set up’. I am incredibly privileged during this time.


Can you recommend us an album we should listen to, a book we should read and a movie we should watch during the current lockdown?


Book: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari Albums: This Empty Northern Hemisphere by Gregory Alan Isakov (2009), Miss Anthropocene by Grimes (2020) Film: The Lighthouse

QUIZ TIME!!! CAUSE YOU MADE IT HALFWAY THROUGH THIS ARTICLE

(hint: screenshot and use the pen tool of your instagram story)


MILLIE TURNER


The English singer-songwriter Millie Turner quickly made it on every artists-to-watch-list after releasing perfectly crafted pop songs such as "Underwater" and "The Shadow". Since then she did not only collaborate with H&M and opened for Tove Lo but also released more songs (such as her new single "Jungle") and the EP "Hide+Seek", underlining her talent in storytelling.

Where and how are you spending the current lockdown? How does it affect your everyday life at the moment?


I’m currently at home with my family in Hackney, London. Been a mad change, considering I was about to go on tour but I feel I’ve adjusted well! I’m lucky I can work from home.

How does the lockdown affect you as an artist?


As an artist its meant I can’t tour and do live shows as well as making music videos that I’ve been planning for a while. However, I’ve been able to still be creatively productive in my own way.


As an artist, are you used to isolation and being alone such as when writing new songs? Does it help you in your creative work to be temporarily alone in order to find inspiration and to write new songs?


I think it has meant I have time to think, and when I get in my head I end up being a lot more inspired and productive in my own world. So in that way, it’s been incredibly helpful and inspiring to write songs. It helps me deal with emotional stress and confusion of the world too, processing how I feel.


How do you manage to stay inspired in times of difficulty? Are you pursuing any other artistic activities next to music during the lockdown that are helping you to stay inspired?


I stay inspired by dreaming and thinking, Thinking about the things and the possibilities of what i can do in my own space. I think it definitely wasn’t my mindset at the beginning, where i felt incredibly powerless and bombarded by depressing mood. But my incentive is to appreciate my space and to feel free to think and create within that. I think music is good for the soul so I constantly have music that sets a mood. As well as this, I use fashion as a way to mold to whatever mood I am having, if I feel lazy or sexy or smart, fashion sets a mood or a headspace. I love movies too, and sometimes to escape in a story, in a book, or anywhere, I find characters especially inspire me. If it’s what they wear or what they say or what they believe. I think though, it’s easy to worry, but I find when you focus your attention on whatever you have control over you start to feel needed and less purposeless.


If you had to create a lockdown playlist, which 3 songs would you definitely put on this playlist?


You sexy thing - hot chocolate, Lean on me - Bill withers, Suspicious minds - Elvis Presley.

Can you tell us in 3 simple steps (probably it is not that simple in reality) how we can write our own song during the lockdown?


Get a piece of paper. Find yourself a place in the house where you feel safest. And mind shit on the piece of paper. This is when you throw up, write down, all, and any thoughts that is going through your mind. They could be just one liners, or maybe a paragraph. This is how I sense whatever my mind is urgent to write about. Sometimes certain words might stand out more and I’ll use these words, or concept to set a mood for the song. Then find the right chords, that reflect this mood. Start formulating the concept and mood into whatever melody flows.

Are you currently working on new songs, an ep, album or any other projects?


I’ve been working on a few albums, but currently wanting to come up with some fresh new ideas and possibly releasing something more lofi in the current circumstances.


Is there anything you would like to add?


I hope you’re okay x


MOYKA


Moyka is the young Norwegian singer and producer from Norway who is creating perfectly crafted electro pop .Her first EP "Circles" was released in 2019 and the followup EP is to be released soon including the singles "Spaces" and "Backwards" on which she continues to create flawless experimental electro soundscapes underlining her love for synthesizers.

(Photo by Hildur Guðrún Ágústsdóttir)


Where and how are you spending the current lockdown?


I am spending my lockdown in my apartment in Bergen, Norway. Luckily I live with my best friend and my little sister, which makes it a bit easier to go through. They are the sweetest. I’m also writing, listen to music and try to catch up on stuff I’ve never seen before!


Are you used to isolation when writing and producing music or do you always do this with a team of several people around you? Do you think loneliness (at least temporarily) can be a source of inspiration for an artist like you?


I am very used to go into periods where I’m very focused which can lead to feeling a little bit isolated from the rest of the world. But I realise how much it just means to go out the door, go on the bus and then get into another room (my studio) and work there. But this is absolutely a challenge in many ways. The world is weird, I am weird, everything is weird!


I absolutely think that loneliness is a source of a strong emotion that can lead to inspiration, I just don’t know if it’s the best way to work purposely. For me, I want to do music as long as I can, and if I’m going associate music (the thing I love the most in my life) with something bad (like a bad feeling) then I can probably see that I wouldn’t want to do it for as long as I want. I’d rather use music to escape the loneliness I’m feeling, if that makes sense? It’s important to take care of yourself, especially in times like these.

When did you felt the most lonely in your life and how did you face this feeling at that time?


That’s a very hard question. I don’t know when I’ve felt the most lonely in my life, but when I’ve faced hard times I usually turn to friends, art and music. It’s the most important things I have in my life. If it’s art that expresses the way I feel or art that makes me understand what I’m feeling and that many others have also felt the same way. I also try to write and process the feeling I have and sometimes make art out of it. It’s an important way for me to cope.


As a young and upcoming artist, what were the challenges you faced due to the lockdown until now? Did you find any new ways of connecting with new listeners such as via live streaming on social media?


Definitely challenging! I actually played my first online concert a week ago, which was really nice and strange (but mostly nice). Felt like I got the real artist-in-a-global-pandemic-experience. I think the biggest challenge for me has to be more available on social media with livestreams so I can talk to people there. It was very scary for me at first, but now I think it’s a lot of fun and a good way to talk to people. It’s also challenging staying in my bedroom a lot. I bet there are many people that can relate!


If you could only listen to 3 Albums during the whole lockdown, which ones would it currently be?


AAAAAH! Lana Del Rey - Born to die, Harry Styles - Fine Line and Lykke Li - so sad so sexy. My three moods these days, haha. <3

What are the next plans after your new (and amazing!) single « Spaces ». Is there an EP or even an album planned to be released soon?


There is an EP and music videos coming. I’m very excited to release the music I’ve been working on together with Eirik Hella the past months.


VŌX


Vōx is the stage name of the L.A.-based singer who is creating ultra experimental sound landscapes and dreamy visual art challenging the norms of pop music. Her sensational Frank Ocean cover of "Swim Good" should be on all our playlists during the current lockdown. Her new single "Be Bigger" is out now.

(Photo by Marnik Alfons)


Where and how are you spending the lockdown due to COVID-19? Is your everyday life and your life as an artist very affected by it?


I'm here in Los Angeles. I feel lucky that I live in a place that's warm where I can be outside in the yard and garden. My life is very affected. I travel a ton as a musician, and I had upcoming trips and shows that were canceled due to COVID.


As a musician, how does this kind of lockdown affect your creativity and your artistic work? Is isolation something that hinders your creative work or can it be a source of inspiration to be temporarily alone?


I think every person is coping in their own ways with the lockdown. I've always been very sensitive to energies and big changes, so I've fallen into a depression. Isolation itself isn't really causing this for me though. I think it's from the uncertainty and collective anxiety and financial stress right now. I do love isolation for creativity, but I create best and feel most inspired when I'm relaxed and feel safe. Those are two things I unfortunately don't feel right now.


It seems like during the lockdown, a lot of people start creating art form paintings to music. How important do you think art is in such a crisis and why does art seem so helpful for people in times of difficulties?


I think art becomes even more important in a crisis. It's a wonderful way to express emotions, getting them free from your body, which is so important. Great art can act as a salve to your sensitive wounded parts. It can make you feel less alone.


Can you tell us about some artistic projects you were working on during the lockdown? Did you wrote any songs or did you create any other form of art?


I am still working on things even without being as inspired. I'm currently working on a video project for some of my music with a director/videographer. We've been discussing what to film, and then I'll be filming the footage here at my home and sending it to her to edit.


What should people learn from this time of difficulty and what did you learn from it until now?


It's important to take some of the pressure off of ourselves right now. It's ok to be totally paralyzed. It's ok to not be doing as much. It's something I'm needing to learn myself. Everyone copes in their own ways, and it's so important not to beat yourself up for whatever feels right at this moment. We're all grieving the loss of our former lives and our plans we had set for our futures. If you need to sleep longer or rest more or watch lots of TV, that's totally fine. I think learning to slow down is the most important lesson of all.


OH LAND


The Danish pop singer Nanna Øland Fabricius proved that she knows both how to craft perfect pop songs and experimental soundscapes on already five albums. Nanna is also a ballet dancer, X Factor judge, and mother. Her new song "I Miss One Week Ago" was completely written and recorded during the current lockdown.

(Photo by Shervin Lainez)


Where and how are you spending the lockdown due to COVID-19? Is your everyday life and your life as an artist very affected by it?


I’m spending it at home in Copenhagen with my boyfriend, my 3-year-old son, and my growing belly. We take a trip out in nature every day and spend 6-7 hours outdoors every day. I try to work from home as well but find that inspiration comes in very random waves in these odd times


As a musician, you might be used to be isolated for some time such as when writing an album. How do you deal with isolation? Are there any positive aspects of being isolated and taking a break from the outside world? Can it maybe even help when creating music?


Generally, I like isolating myself from time to time. As you describe it’s often important for a creative process to isolate. But the circumstances in this case makes the isolation feel eery and involuntary. I try to get the best out of it- treat it as the break that I can never call myself ,cause I always just work my way ahead! I love the opportunity to spend such intense time with my son.


How does isolation in general and the current situation we are in because of the health crisis affect you and your creative work in a negative way? As an artist, how do you deal with such difficult times and challenges?


I try to create routines and rules. Like not checking the news more than twice a day.

And really acknowledge how I’m feeling and putting into words. Songwriting helps a lot when I feel overwhelmed.


Do you think that people can learn something from the current situation, from being isolated and being restricted in many ways? Should we learn to appreciate certain things more?


I definitely think that our values fall into place and become very clear to us. Like health over career and stuff like that. I think this situation makes everyone clean up in their priorities. And also we can explore sides of ourselves we didn’t know we had. Like patience. Presence.

You even came up with a whole new song during isolation called « I Miss One Week Ago ». Can you tell us about the process behind creating the song during the lockdown?

I couldn’t figure out everything that was going on inside my head and needed the piano for clarity. That always helps me. Putting abstract emotions into sounds- suddenly I find out what I’m really feeling when I have a finished song. I hadn’t planned to write it or release it. But I wanted to share it with people who might feel the same way.

Is there anything you would like to add?


I think it is helpful to see how resilient we are as people and how much innovation comes out of a global crisis like this. The world feels more connected than ever because we have a common reference to our feelings and thoughts. That’s the one really beautiful thing I see right now and I think it will manifest itself in how the world will evolve the next years.


GAMUT


Gamut is the Paris based collective of six fashion designers and a photographer. Working kind of like a family, they are all bringing their knowledge and visions together, resulting in collections with a variety of original ideas.


How are you spending the current lockdown?


In France, the official announcement of the lockdown was preceded by rumors, which allowed most of the seven members of the GAMUT collective to move to the countryside for a few weeks; others stayed in Paris. We strictly observe the quarantine measures; all separated, we try to keep in touch using digital tools. The specificity of our brand is that it is run by a group of friends - the distance, therefore, weighs on us from a professional point of view, but also on a relational/friendly level. We miss each other!


Each of us maintains a professional and/or creative activity while adapting to the conditions of the lockdown: we cook, we read, we watch films, we sew, we draw, we listen to music… We keep in touch with our production partners to prepare our next events. But above all, we're reflecting on the next few months, on our way of working, and on the approaches of the rest of the industry.


What effect has time of crisis like now on your inspiration and on your work as designers?


This time of crisis only reveals dysfunctions, problems and errors that were already at work in the fashion industry but also in the entire economic system. All of a sudden, all the players in our industry find themselves faced with the impossibility of organising a fashion week, the impossibility of travelling to buy collections, a drop in consumer spending, etc. A system that seemed immutable for many people is being overturned, at least temporarily, forcing the whole industry to find other ways of creating, producing, presenting and selling their collections.

As designers and business leaders, this period gives us the freedom to decide what we want to show to the world, and according to what schedule. Since our creation in 2018, we have been trying to question the established order by doing things at our own pace, trying to find a new, unusual pattern in fashion: collective creation. Working together also means multiplying points of view. On a design, but also on how to produce and sell. This health crisis obviously has environmental causes, which encourage us to continue on our responsible path: local production, recycling, upcycling, fighting against waste, etc.


What are the challenges that you are facing as designers at the moment due to the lockdown?


The way we work involves spending a lot of time together. In order to build a common and coherent project, which goes beyond the individualities of the group. The last few weeks have been complicated from this point of view, but little by little we have found ways to communicate.

As the whole production line is currently stopped - our collections are all produced in France - we have no choice but to move forward little by little, which also gives us time to refine some projects that were left aside, to go back over some difficulties.

GAMUT is an artistic platform: we were organizing an evening at the end of May to celebrate the publication of a book by an artist we love, with performances, concerts... It was an ambitious project, but we had to postpone it because of the lockdown.


If you were able to change one thing in the fashion industry, what would it be?


For GAMUT, and for most emerging brands, perhaps the main issue is timing. Global fashion agendas impose a frantic rhythm of creation, presentation and production: six months to think a collection from A to Z, to develop it, to edit it, to sell it, is too short, especially if you're running other special projects in parallel, as is the case with us. This rush doesn't leave enough time to think in depth about issues of sustainable development and inclusiveness, and exhausts the creativity of designers, including those at the head of major fashion brands. In any case, the relationship to seasonality in fashion seems to us to be obsolete. Nowadays, it's always winter somewhere. In an ideal world — perhaps we will create it at the end of this troubled period? —brands would present their collections whenever they wanted, every 6, 9, 12 or 18 months. Digital could make this dream come true.


If you were forced to create a garment with a slogan on it right now, what would the slogan be?

#savelivesstayGAMUT

If you were forced to spend the lockdown with 3 other people from the fashion industry, who would you choose?


Stéphanie Veuriot, Tatiana-Franky Mladenovitch, Messalina Mescalina


more: www.collectifgamut.com


Louis Gabriel Nouchi


The French fashion designer who previously worked for Vogue and Raf Simons and collaborated with Galeries Lafayette was always inspired by literature, which is underlined by how his collections are references to different books. During the lockdown, the designer is advising different books every week to his followers on Instagram.

Where and how are you spending the lockdown? Do you feel like it is affecting you a lot in your everyday life?


I keep the same planning as usual at a professional level. I get up early, drink my coffee, smoke my cigarette, and check the emails to answer for the start of the day. Then we have a general meeting with the team on WhatsApp video call. When the day is over, I read a little or do some sports. The days are very intense, we have to adapt every week according to the situation, which is very stimulating. Having no more travel or tube every day means that I have more time for myself as well.


What about your work as a designer? What changed since the lockdown for you and your work?


Since the lockdown, the change is huge, as fashion is normally access to meeting people in real, touching/choosing fabrics, fittings, visitings manufactories,… so we have to adapt in a different way with our partners to continue developing and working. I have a wonderful team which is completely operational and our manufactories are still working. We are communicating a lot and are tattle transparent with our buyers and clients. I think this period, even if it’s dramatic, is an incredible opportunity t have time to think again more, be more focused and our strength and essential, and try to communicate our values in a different way we didn’t experiment before. As the brand is based on literature, we propose free download books on our Instagram, we stopped all newsletters, and I’m doing a video every week about books I advise or liked and why.

Fashion shows are an important tool to present the garments to a broad audience of buyers, press, and clients. What will change for you and fashion brands in general now that the Fédération de la Haute Couture de la Mode has canceled the upcoming men’s and haute couture fashion weeks? Will fashion come up with new ways of presenting collections?


It’s really interesting to question the system. As we don’t have a traditional way of showing our collection this season ( with a classic runaway ), we will have to be very innovative in our approach, to restore the violence, the subversive, and the elegancy that we try to install during our shows in Paris. We are working on a new way to show this by video or 3D new technologies, without losing the sensuality and the touch side, which is essential for me.

We are also talking a lot with the Federation, and all the other brands and clients to see what period would be best to present. Smaller collections are key, but people are still in demand for creativity, which is a good sign.

Your collections are inspired by literature and you also promote the idea of reading more during the lockdown by advising books to read on your Instagram account. What importance do books have for you in general and especially during this time of crisis?


Books and literature are crucial for me. It was my first way to escape my daily life when I was a child. It’s also a universal language, and as a French guy, I’m very lucky to be able to communicate with books that are internationally read and known. I’m fascinated by the « hell of librairies », which is a French expression to talk about the books that what too sulfurous or protester at a certain time. I like to translate this violence in an esthetician and elegant way in every collection, with aggressive treatments on fabrics or clothes as a form of ennoblissements, to show the injury/strong feelings described in each story. All those books are talking also about outsiders characters that are not in phase/against the system, which is something is really like to work on.

If you were forced to spend the lockdown with 3 people from the fashion industry who would it be and why?


Raf Simons : I always remember when I was working in his team, it was one of the best periods in my life with him and all the people there. It gave me a lot of energy and way of working which I still applied now. Michele Lamy: she’s so radical I admire her a lot for her vision and what she influence in Fashion today. I’m very intimidated when I see her in Paris.

Angelo Flaccavento : I don’t read a lot about fashion, but he’s really a journalist that I really appreciate. I love his point of view on fashion and it’s always a pleasure to read what he says.


Is there anything you would like to add?


I’ll be very happy when I’ll be able to take my morning coffee on terrasse at the bar downstair my appartement, watching the usual Parisian crowd.


more: www.louisgabrielnouchi.com


BEL


The Melbourne-born singer makes experimental pop in the genre of Banks, FKA Twigs and Grimes. With the help of strong visuals (her video for "Spectre was directed by James Montford who worked with Banks before), Bel creates a dreamy world of her own: real, authentic, with no veil to hide imperfections.

(Photo by Phebe Schmick)


What are some of the challenges you are facing as a music artist due to the current lockdown? 


There are many challenges musicians face during this time, ranging from loss of income to desecration of various opportunities, shows, travel and recording sessions (to name a few). The music industry depends on face-to-face interaction in almost every way. Personally, many of the plans/goals I had have been postponed or cancelled indefinitely. I’m not able to fly interstate to work with my musical collaborators nor make visual content because there’s no way to do it in a way that complies with social distancing laws. On the flip side, I view myself as a highly resourceful and DIY artist. Making lemonade out of rotten lemons is not unfamiliar to me. Everyone handles things differently and there’s no one way to handle living in a pandemic. For me, I’m keeping incredibly busy by engaging in every possible skill I can. Song writing, production, composition, sketching, remote/online visual art creation, poetry, home photoshoots, vocal training, Skype recording sessions and lots of exercise are just some of the ways that assist me avoiding stagnation. Whilst I’m grieving the 2020 that was going to be and can’t help but feel blue from time to time, I refuse to succumb to the negativity. 

Do you feel inspired at the moment and were you able to work on creative projects during the lockdown? 


I feel inspired always, but what the pandemic has brought out in me is curiosity. I’m aiming to engage in creative projects that perhaps I wouldn’t have sourced for myself if this didn’t happen. I’m curious as to the perspectives of other multi-disciplinary creatives within fashion, literature, visual art and beauty, and how they’re handling this situation; and how it’s affecting their art. I’ve reached out to a bunch of people regarding different projects/ideas that maybe I wouldn’t have outsourced otherwise.  More so, the whole live stream thing has really challenged me. Nothing makes me feel more euphoric than performing. I’ve felt inspired in the live stream world to bring elements of theatre to viewers at home. The perfectionist in me cannot stand the audio challenges and the idea of performing to an iPhone that manipulates sound output, and it’ll NEVER replace live gigs, but it’s definitely pushed me to think outside the box and work in a way I’ve never worked before. My main focus now though, is on finding a way to work with my musical collaborators in a safe way to get this second record finished. Stay tuned.



JENS


Jens is a young singer-songwriter from Norway who just released his new single "In or Out" from his upcoming EP. If you like pop music in the style of Troye Sivan, then you should probably add jens on your lockdown playlist too. He also did an amazing cover of Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" which is the perfect title to be listened to during the lockdown. Let's listen to "In or Out" while dancing by ourselves.

(Photo by Sigurd Fandango)


Where and how are you spending the current lockdown?

I’m keeping indoors for the most part. Even though we aren’t in a lockdown per se here in Norway, we are asked to stay at home as much as possible. I try to work on my music, study for my exams, and exercise.


You released your new single « A Place to Call Home ». Do you think as a young and upcoming artist this is an especially challenging time to release a new song?


This whole situation seems to be extremely challenging for a lot of people of every occupation, not just musicians. It for sure feels different and kind of weird to be releasing music right now, but then again every release can be a challenge when you’re an upcoming artist. We’ll see how «A Place To Call Home» plays out, but no matter what I’m proud of having a song of mine being a part of the «Moominvalley» series. A TV-show I adored as a child! I will also release one more track on Friday the 17th of April called "In or Out", so I'm very excited to have some new music out despite the situation we are in.

Are you someone who likes to spend time on his own or do you prefer to be surrounded by people all the time?


I love having people around, and I love it when they leave. I think I’m a mix of introvert/extrovert, but leaning more towards the introvert side of the scale. I definitely need to be alone to recharge.

You did an amazing cover of « Dancing On My Own » by Robyn which is ironically the perfect cover choice for this current lockdown. If you had to do 3 other covers during this lockdown, which songs would you choose to cover?


Thank you! «All By Myself» by Céline Dion is a given. «Inside Friend» by Leon Bridges and John Mayer, and «Sweatpants» by Lauv. Maybe I’ll cover some of them and upload to my Youtube-channel.

Do you think this lockdown has also a positive influence on you such as having more time for yourself? What are some other positive aspects?

I am learning to appreciate all the things that I may have taken a bit for granted earlier. Being able to meet and hug my friends, see my grandma, go out for a drink, play a concert and such. It's weird, but it feels like this whole situation hit pause on a lot of things. It definitely gives me time to stop, think and plan for the next steps of my career.


DELACEY


The multi-platinum songwriter for Halsey, Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson, The Chainsmokers, Anne-Marie and more released her first Album "Black Coffee", a seductive collection of songs on which she proves once more her talent in songwriting.

(photo by Aysia Marotta)


What changed for you as an artist since the lockdown and how did it affect you? Well for one I released my debut album “Black Coffee” during lockdown which was such a weird experience. I felt kind of guilty putting it our in spite of the tragedy going on in the world and it was hard to feel like it was pretty unimportant. I also was planning on touring and promoting my album and like so many artists, can no longer do that in the near future. There are so many downsides to being forced to stay at home during the lockdown. What are some of the positive aspects of being forced to stay at home for you and how does it help you in your creative process?  What I wasn’t expecting was to feel LESS anxious than before lockdown. It has made me take a beat and focus on self-care. The music industry is so chaotic and I never have a normal routine because I’m constantly leaving home and traveling and it’s hard to even make plans let alone keep them.  For the first time in probably 10 years, I find myself having a routine, and its been really positive for me. I’m doing Yoga every day, I’m still writing songs, taking FaceTime music theory lessons, cooking new things, and staying in touch with my loved ones more frequently. I hope to carry these kinds of things with me when this is all over. 

#quarantinewithirk

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