Creativity in Captivity – Notes from Designers on Creative Life in Isolation | 01

I think its safe to say most of us have come to the realisation that its best for us all to stay indoors for a while. Without wanting to downplay the significance of this fact, are there some positives to be taken from this situation? Sometimes the world is a strange place and with it can come some strange challenges, such as what to do with ourselves for prolonged amounts of time in Isolation. Here are some thoughts, musings, tips and ideas from designers on how we can make the most of our isolation.  


Ryan Lovering, Senior Footwear Designer, Paul Smith

Firstly, remember working remotely is creative in itself – especially if it requires finding innovative new ways of working or of fire-fighting the inevitable problems we’re all facing.

My experience is that really successful projects can be realised from home and being under pressure usually enhances creativity. When I designed Alexander McQueen’s oversized sneaker, the schedule was super-tight and most of the design was done after-hours in my London apartment where being forced to make do with anything I could find at home to generate the concept in 3D was actually fun: Screws, duct tape, plumbers’ sealant…

Stay grounded by embracing this time away from the studio or office as chance to explore new ideas. And focus positively on the future by working them into shareable form.

Take the opportunity to be creative with the people you live with too. Making art with our two small children has helped us pass the time and also given us permission to ‘play’ with our own ideas.

My other tips for getting through: keep checking in with colleagues, stay connected, make sure everyone is ok. And, as if anyone needed reminding, listen to Bowie and enjoy some wine. X


Thibo Denis, Senior shoe designer, Dior Homme

It’s interesting because it’s a different process.

I like to go to the office knowing what I will start with and I will for sure think about any drawings in the metro or when I shower.

Here it’s more spontaneous… I take time to look at books and magazines I didn’t open in ages … I also have to optimize my time so when I start something I finish it.

For calls, when I speak with pattern makers I will be more focus … it’s all about trying to not repeat what we usually do.

It’s all about adapting and finding ways to create without the tools we have.

I’m not sure I will be back with amazing drawings… but I’m sure I will have the ideas clearer…


Solene Roure, Design Director, Primury

During these strange times, I personally find it very hard to get out of bed.

Work projects and photoshoots are on hold, we still need to design and think about upcoming seasons yet the future is more uncertain than ever. Social media tell us to use this time to be creative and come up with our best work ever, yet anxiety can make even small tasks paralysing. I am personally trying to take it one day at a time, even if they can seem particularly long…

So in an effort to keep you (and myself) at a level of sanity, here is survival checklist:

  • Get up at the same time every morning
  • Get dressed everyday
  • Exercise once a day (online exercise class are easily found on youtube !)
  • Avoid anxiety snacking and cook healthy meals
  • Call one at least one person/friend per day to check on them
  • Try not to get addicted to Super Smash Brothers on Nintendo switch in my spare time

Now the fun stuff !

Here are some recommendations to keep you informed within the realm of sneakers and fashion

Listen to : Group Chat podcast

Group chat hosts provide a serious yet fun take on the corona virus spread from a streetwear business owner perspective, 3 times a week. (They used to discuss all things pop and business culture…)

Watch : Marc Jacobs  and Louis Vuitton by Loic Prigent from 2007

Before Virgil Abloh, before Nicolas Gesquiere, LVMH bet on Marc Jacobs as one of the first independent designer to be taken to superstardom. This documentary was the first to open the curtains on Lthe ouis Vuitton’s fashion house. It’s very fun to watch.

After that you’ll be tempted to follow Loic Prigent’s youtube page for his unique, comedic eye inside the fashion world.

Read : If you are looking to improve your fashion and business knowledge here are some enjoyable reads :

  • Yvon Chouinard : Let my people go surfing (the education of the reluctant business and founder of Patagonia)
  • Joan Juliet Buck : The price of illusion (A memoir by former French Vogue editor)
  • Emma Gannon : The Multi Hyphen method (An easy read about starting one or more side businesses)
  • School of life : How to think more effectively (actually any book by the School of life is great support, I highly suggest you check then out)

Now is also a great time to update your portfolio, so if you need any tips, check out this article

Stay safe out there !



Feel free to share your thoughts on Creativity in Captivity on the Conceptkicks IG and stay tuned for more insights.

Matthew Taylor

Footwear designer | Founder + Creative director of Auxiliary

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