The days are slowly but surely rolling on as we work and create from our homes. Whether it be on the lounge, dining table, bed or for the lucky ones, a home office, the will to stay inspired day-to-day is a guessing game. Though it is okay to have days when it all seems too hard, we hope to fill the void, even just for a few fleeting minutes of this article. In a fresh series, ICON speaks with industry creatives – be it music, style, dance, writing, or even social media – on how to stay inspired during self-isolation. And hopefully a handful of tips for you, the reader, on the way. 

First off the block is Paul Watson, Head of Communications for Menswear at MatchesFashion.

Credit: Supplied
ICON: Can you explain what your role entails, day-to-day?

Paul Watson: I am Head of Communications for menswear at MATCHESFASHION working closely with the business to determine how to amplify our menswear offer, how to engage with male customers and how we can help develop very talented designers into household names, and if not household then cult favourites. It’s a brilliant role as part of a broader Brand and Communications team, no day is the same, I get to travel and I love clothes. On a daily basis it means everything from orchestrating a seasonal press open day, working with a young designer to create a stimulating press campaign or creating an event with one of our designer partners.

How has your daily routine changed since lockdown?

PW: Well obviously I am no longer in an office, and I tend to go to the gym before work so I have had to readjust. However I have maintained the time I wake and now take my dog on a longer morning walk. I do a 45 minute workout in my lounge, then shower and begin to check in on emails at 9am – I’m trying to keep the same timings to the day where possible though I do find I work later – it seems to be harder to switch off but I do always make some time to relax in the evening.

What are three items you have with you whilst you work?

PW: Laptop, phone and notebook. All essential.

How are you staying creative during this time? Where do you look for inspiration?

PW: I’m still in close contact with all the team at MATCHESFASHION which is helpful – we Zoom or chat on the phone and continue to discuss how we amplify what we are doing. I am also dressing for work – for the first week I slouched around in loose easy clothing but I found getting dressed as I would for work gets me in the mood for Zoom calls and keeps me quite inspired.

I’m looking at various social media just picking up on the evolving landscape within the fashion industry and really thinking about ways that MATCHESFASHION can frame our communications as part of this new way of working. I am still speaking to media and finding out how they are working and adapting. I’ve actually been very busy which has also been helpful in keeping me focused. Personally I’m very curious, but I’m also making time to rediscover old films I love such as The Eyes of Laura Mars and Picnic at Hanging Rock and also artists I haven’t listened to in years like early Bjork and Prince. Basically I’m trying to keep myself as stimulated as possible!

Do you have any advice for people struggling with the transition of working from home?

PW: I think everyone has different circumstances, but I would suggest defining the working day and getting ready for it as you would the office. Setting honest and reasonable ground rules for the others you live with – my partner works from home and from the start I asked that he didn’t listen to music on our sound system and instead used his headphones. This has allowed me to have a calmer environment and has stopped what could have been daily arguments. It’s been hard turning off the laptop during the week but I have been very militant about ensuring that the weekend is sacred and that there are boundaries to it – at 6pm on a Friday I put my laptop in its case then pack it away in our spare room. At that point I feel the weekend has arrived and I transition from working at home to relaxing at home. It’s amazing how small things like this really signpost a change.

Finally, if you are really struggling reach out to your colleagues who will be in the same position – myself and the womenswear head of comms have a daily call just to catch up – it makes us feel like we are sitting together as we normally would and allows us to offload if we have had a hard day. Even five minutes talking can help. As a team we’ve also instigated either weekly Zoom drinks or a weekly Zoom quiz – it brings us all together in a fun way and allows us all to connect.

You can read Part 2 with Sonny, a Copenhagen-based artist and DJ, here.