Keeping yourself occupied in uncertain times
With much of fashion grinding to a halt in the wake of Covid-19, it leaves a creative void in the world. Film cameras have stopped rolling, front rows left bare, and design studios deserted. In its place, boredom has begun to rear its head and make the prospect of weeks in isolation feel rather tedious. We understand, that’s why the OVERDUE team has decided to offer Issue 001 as a completely free digital download. Think of it as a much-needed cultural dose to get you through the pandemic. But if #StayAtHome is still leaving you without purpose, here are eight at-home activities for when your exercise allowance is up.
1. Tour an exhibition from your own sofa
Following Boris Johnson’s advice not to leave the house for non-essential travel, the prospect of a cultural trip seems redundant. Museums and galleries have been left shuttered for the foreseeable future, their events all but neglected. Art is an emotional escape for many, and now in such bleakness, is needed more than ever for a new perspective on the world. All is not lost though, as exhibitions do not have to be physically seen to be experienced, cyber artists have been residing in digital gallery spaces for years. Now, institutions too are moving online thanks to 360-degree cameras and slideshows.
Unveiling the personal history of artist Frida Kahlo on Google, I Portray Myself, encapsulates Mexican symbolism through the visionary’s 800 greatest portraits. Then London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is offering a spectrum of fashion tours, including Balenciaga: Master Craftsman and a presentation on Indian textile methods. Though these options are not exhaustive, a search bar and internet connection are all that is needed to seek culture from the confines of quarantine. From Commes Des Garçons and beyond, more archive recommendations from around the web can be found here.
2. Catch up on the cult classics
We’ve all been there, when a classic film creeps into the small talk and you politely smile, being too embarrassed to admit you’ve never actually seen it. Isolation has made it a perfect time to draft yourself a list of missed blockbusters from over the years. Whether you watch one per evening or prefer a marathon, online streaming has made it nearly impossible not to watch Pulp Fiction or clue up on The Devil Wears Prada.
Netflix cites a great fashion documentary selection to make up for the grim absence of runway shows. Though the anticipated Met Gala has been postponed this year, watching its behind-the-scenes narrative film, The First Monday in May, is sure to lessen wait time for the big event. McQueen, Franca: Chaos and Creation and Paris is Burning are honorable mentions for when you need a WFH break.
3. Try your hand at the arts
Perhaps repetitive hand-washing isn’t the only hand-centric task you are limited to in isolation. There has been no better time to pull out a sewing kit or paints to brush away your boredom, and express any frustration onto a page. Arts and crafts are proven to help you unwind, so when there’s this much negativity gripping the news, taking a creative break can only be a benefit.
European designers Jacquemus and Bottega Veneta have launched initiatives to encourage arts education from home. The former has joined forces with The French Fashion School IFM to launch a series of online fashion classes, while the latter will debut a virtual residency through which brand muses can share stories. It’s format, a remote show-and-tell, was kickstarted by creative director Daniel Lee on episode one. For those with an Alexander McQueen penchant, take up the illustration challenge put forth on Instagram, to recreate a ruby couture gown from AW19. The brand will continue to announce new projects each week.
4. Revamp that skincare routine
Being stuck in a 9 to 5 schedule can erase the chance to experiment. When your skincare routine merely does the job, it can be daunting to swap out hardy products for new things, especially with skin that could be receptive to redness or flare-ups. More than ever, self-care is essential when this isolation period increases time indoors, away from the sun and its replenishing Vitamin‑D. Trial and test new formulas while you have the chance to do so and if you’re needing a touch of product inspiration, read up on the best picks from our junior fashion editor, Thomas Lee Brooks.
After the closure of salons everywhere, overgrown eyebrows and chipped nails are beginning to make a very unwelcome appearance. It’s time to give your body some overdue TLC: if you’ve perfected that skincare shelf already, there’s always room for a bubble bath, wine and – cucumber – face mask each day.
5. Become a fashion history bookworm
With quarantine comes an increase in digital screentime. While it’s beneficial to be facetiming friends and keeping updated on social media, a book is sometimes a better tool for relaxation, away from bleeping notifications and endless emails. Just as novels are escapes from reality, fashion non-fictions are equally as enthralling. Rather than gathering dust on the coffee table, biographies and encyclopedias can be a brilliant resource for inspiration or finding hope in the lives of others.
If your bookshelf is bare or well-read, look online to internet archives for endless content. The Metropolitan Museum of Art website offers free downloads like Christian Dior (1996) by Richard Martin, in its entirety. It’s also a brilliant time to go through your old stash of magazines, clearing out stockpiled issues and even making a cut-and-paste moodboard if you have a spare half hour.
6. Tune into a livestream concert (or three)
Music, according to Shakespeare, is food for the soul. Needless to say, lockdown has starved the world of long-awaited concerts and festivals. Cracks in the music scene began to show as Lana Del Rey pulled out of her world tour, followed by a host of others. Coachella and Glastonbury are two leading festivals to have been postponed in response to Covid-19, just as Lady Gaga has chosen to stunt the release of her forthcoming album Chromatica until the pandemic subsides.
But music has not been completely silenced. Numerous artists have taken to webcam concerts for fans and this figure only grows each day. Many of whom, including Mariah Carey and Lizzo, chose to partake in a coronavirus relief livestream, hosted by none other than Sir Elton John. Theatres too are staging remote performances, and what could possibly be more uplifting than a living room ensemble? Keep a track of your favourite performers through social media for more information.
7. Finally clean out your wardrobe
In this restricted time, many factories and studios have ceased to produce new clothing, a step forward for sustainability perhaps, but one back for creative freedom. In luxury fashion, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent have applied their craft to relief efforts by mass-producing surgical masks. The same sense of duty has trickled down onto a student front, with Central Saint Martins leading the charge in NHS scrub donations. You, too, can do the same with spare bedsheets and basic sewing.
The season of spring clean is in full swing, which means rather than ordering a complete wardrobe overhaul, clear out the cupboards for charity donation or engage in a spot of DIY. Reworking is a hot topic for AW20 from spliced Burberry overshirts to a hash of tertiary-hued fabrics, ripped apart and remarried at Maison Margiela. Before you part with your outsized and probably outdated clothing, don’t forget to recreate a #HomeCouture look for Instagram, as inspired by George Serventi (@skipdin) and his genius dress-up challenge that’s been sweeping social media by storm.
8. Pop on an inspiring podcast
Whether commuting, on a morning run or waiting to feed your sourdough, podcasts have risen as a background mainstay in many a daily routine. LVMH-prizewinner Marine Serre streams a virtual workout every Saturday morning, if you’re looking for the perfect listening activity.
In such difficult times, yoga and mindfulness audio are the best to help unwind any isolation tensions. For something more inquisitive, Dressed: The History of Fashion is a century-spanning feed of knowledge that is guaranteed to improve your fashion trivia for the next Zoom pub quiz. Brand-aligned podcasts are also on the market, take it from Gucci and Chanel who are telling listeners tales of production, interviewing guest collaborators from each season. Alessandro Michele, of Gucci, has paired with The Sex Ed podcast in a newfangled series surrounding sexuality and wellness. It seems that sometimes, a simple chat suffices. For that, Miu Miu’s Musings are friendly, conversational soundbites that cover everything from social media culture to debating the meaning of authenticity. And they’re recorded over lunch – eat your heart out, listeners.