Isolation Doesn’t Have to be Drab

Keeping yourself occupied in uncertain times 

By Alice May Sten­son 

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.