Creativity in Captivity – Notes from Designers on Creative Life in Isolation | 06

One interesting phenomenon to observe since the beginning of quarantine has been the surge of information and online communication, which seems to have now reached its peak saturation point. That being said, at this point we think its fair to assume that you probably know enough / too much about what everyone is doing at home. With that in mind we present the final piece in the series, with a few strong recommendations and a glance forward to creativity beyond captivity.


Samuel Pearce, Creative Design Manager, New Balance 

Its morning again, I make a strong black coffee and fire up the laptop inside my ever expanding fortress of “sample” shoeboxes (me and the DHL guy are on first name terms).

I think as creatives we are all kind of introverted in the way we work, muddling away in our own minds searching for the perfect thumbnail amongst the scribbles like one of those 90’s magic eye posters. This is, of course, till you don’t have the option to communicate… As well as handling my own projects I manage a team of 4 designers, we are a tight knit group and although we all live within a few miles of each other we have never felt so distant. We have found our catch-up calls getting longer as the weeks go by, discussing topics far beyond just footwear as our creative minds crave input.

There is a clear shift in mentality, maybe even hope, that the worlds RESET button could soon be hit and we all come out of this better off. These are challenging times but as designers we are in a unique position to force change, we are on the front line of an entire industry and we are excited for whats next.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel or is that just Eric with another delivery?


Enrique Corbi, Senior Director of Design, UGG Men’s

The team and I have been constantly in touch through Zoom, Teams, text messages and etc. Right now we have two seasons workload overlapping, SS’21 and FW’21.

For S’21 we will be having our first virtual Sales Conference next week, where we will be presenting the collection to our partners via Zoom. They will be getting individual sets of sales samples per region.

For F’21, we will be having our first virtual development sample reviews meeting too. To try and simplify the process as much as possible, we have been working making modifications directly on shell patters, outsole blueprints and rounds of 3D prints. Once you get used to it, the speed is very similar as if all was normal, also the level of accuracy is similar or increased because of the extra amount of focus you get from isolated working.

It’s all about finding the best way to make things happen given the current context.

Personally, I have been keeping motivated by increasing the amount of exercise in my agenda; long walks very early in the morning and cycling at night with power-led-lights to avoid crowds. Meditation also helps relieve the stress of being stuck in the USA and unable to travel to see the family in Europe.


David Mawdsley, Footwear Designer 2, Nike

I came across this great meme with the main image of Ray Liotta & another actor I forget the name of taken from a Goodfella’s scene with them both leaning back laughing. The meme asked, “Could you survive 14days in quarantine?”, with “Artists” & “Designers” pasted on their chests. This put me at ease instantaneously.

It’s all about your attitude. What’s your mindset?
For me it’s not that I’m being imprisoned with myself for a period of time, it’s that I’ve been given the opportunity to work from home and work is what I will do! Not just from a constant creation stand point, but to work on adding to ones tool belt. There has been no better time to step in and out of things you’ve been looking at from a distance. Inevitably these things will add value to yourself wether or not you choose to follow it through after this mass lockdown.

This might come across as a little whimsical, but the mind is where the creation derives, so feed it. What you produce physically that is tangible for others to see, doesn’t necessarily have to be your gain at this time.

Feed your brain, here’s some things i’ve been digesting…

Time Sensitive Podcast –
Features candid, revealing portraits of curious and courageous people in business and the arts. (Personal favourite is Bjarke Ingels)


Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Revisionist History –
MG was the man behind the best seller, ‘Outliers’ . Revisionist History is some what of an extension of the book, but covers subjects such as, “Why the McDonalds fries no longer tastes as good as it did”. (Outliers is a great book too).


Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind. By Yuval Noah Harari.
Learn where you came from and how our ancestors shaped the world we live in today.

GROSS IDEAS : Tales of Tomorrow’s Architecture
A book filled with short fictional stories based on what we know today. Ideas that will melt your mind and will shock you into contemplation about our actions and how it’ll affect the future. (Black Mirror vibes)

Why Materials Matter by Seetal Solanki.

If you don’t know, get knowing!

Happy quarantining.

Matthew Taylor

Footwear designer | Founder + Creative director of Auxiliary

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