In this series, we asked artists, photographers, fashion stylists, makeup artists, and other creatives to share photo diaries of life in quarantine.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to check my email on my phone. Then socials. If I’m in the mood to workout, I do that at around 5:30 am to 6 am, but if I finished work late the night before, probably around 7:30 am.
Here’s a breakdown of a “regular” day for me: wake up, if there are uploads, I watch Bon Appétit videos for early morning happy boost, work out, breakfast, bike to the office, work, lunch with Coursera homework in between, work again.
I get home only to work some more and check our website for our Mask Project on Basic Movement or to upload new stuff, or I do PHx Fashion Conference research things. In the evening, I watch ‘Terrace House‘ episodes every Tuesdays, then YouTube videos or Netflix, HBO, or Prime. I also do a Zoom-hangout with friends from time to time.
Life in lockdown is honestly the same. Just less of my Manila trips because I spend five out of seven days of my week in Manila. The rest of the week, I’m at the Bulacan office, which is super near my house. The significant difference is there are fewer driving trips and more bike rides for me. I grew up with motorbikes and bikes, so it’s a good break from the usual Manila traffic and does bring me back to my childhood days.
I’ve been in the kitchen a lot. Last year, I had this whole list of things I wanted to do this 2020, like watch more live concerts of my favorite artists and learn to cook more. I didn’t expect to do the latter because of a pandemic…but here we are. Sadly, I already refunded My Chemical Romance tickets, so the former I don’t know when I’ll get to do. At least, I have Bon Appétit that keeps me going to cook more.
I’m also taking an Arts & Culture, Economic, and Analytics online classes on Coursera. Oh, and I’m learning AR & 3D for Instagram filters. My life is a case study: Less time in traffic will give anyone a lot of time to do a lot of things.
When it comes to work, it’s still filled with meetings with my studio manager to coordinate with the rest of the team who are doing work from home, checking in WhatsApp groups, and a lot of emails. The lockdown and limited movement affected research and product development—that’s one thing I’m bummed about. I like going to different suppliers and finding materials. But limitations push me to be more creative.
After it’s truly safe to go back out again, I’m still hoping to continue working out in the morning. I want to check in on my friends more frequently also—before the lockdown, it’s been work and going out. This time, I got to have time to talk to my closest friends again, who are far away. I want more time for that even after this crisis.
When it comes to my lockdown outfit, I am definitely in my Basic Movement Ave Tops, elephant pants, and day dresses (all samples by the way, for a designer I don’t have that many clothes)—loose enough for hot days & dressy sufficient to go outside. And some favorite shirts—my Distancia Amigo shirt from Randolf (oh how perfect!), my Transit shirts, and Maggie Rogers shirt that I had a friend buy for me. And my Andanté sandals have been on repeat.
I have no idea yet when I’ll get that concert experience again. Hopefully soon? I need to live up to my 2020 New Year essay!”—Esme Palaganas as told to Olivia Estrada
Esme Palaganas is a fashion designer and fashion entrepreneur. After finishing her Fashion Design and Merchandising degree at DLS-College of Saint Benilde in 2014, she debuted her brand Basic Movement. She was recognized at the Bench Design Awards in 2017 and represented the Philippines at the AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search in Kuala Lumpur. From then on, her sartorial and style endeavors grew with Basic Movement Club. Together with fellow designer Seph Bagasao and with the guidance of Trickie Lopa, Esme co-founded Phx Fashion Conference. Recently, she spearheaded Fashion Forward Dialogues, a series of online talks on the future of fashion with the Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and SoFA Design Institute. Esme is a member of the Special Projects Council at the FDCP.