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.
“I’m currently quarantined in my home studio. It’s always convenient to stay where you work. Before the quarantine, I could always take a break and work outside of my studio when I feel exhausted. The biggest downside now is logistics. I can’t just see the people I work with when I need something to be produced and developed.
I usually wake up at 7 am to brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack. (That’s a Ke$ha reference for the kids.)
I don’t check my phone until I get to do my morning routine, which is a 30-minute meditation and a little cardio. I then water the plants and then shower. It’s only after that do I check my phone. I read the news even if it’s so frustrating. And then, I check my emails and reply to everything, plus I check the Proudrace Instagram account.
My quarantine look consists of a pair of black cotton shorts and a black T-shirt. I love this T-shirt from Bastard. Sometimes, I’m in my trusty hoodie by one of my favorite local streetwear brands, Bodega Studio. I try to dress up from time to time, wear my fancy clothes, or wear samples from Proudrace. I would also wear my shoes around the studio, so my shoes would not think that I’m dead.
A chunk of my day is dedicated to creative work. But since the lockdown started, I’m also doing logistic work now. I’m a one-man team.
I created pieces for the Masks for Masks Project. Esme Palaganas from Basic Movement started the initiative. I did not think twice when she presented the idea. Not only do we get to help our frontliners, but it also challenges me as a creative to develop this product that can be a staple to a consumer for a long time.
Making my meals relaxes me, so I try to squeeze that in as much as possible. Lately, I’ve been making art again, just revisiting my first love. Before doing creatives for Proudrace, I was an artist, believe it or not. I try to paint sometimes, but I don’t think that’s my strength.
Also, I’m developing this queer skate brand. It’s about time to do something like that in Manila. We are light-years behind. We need that kind of representation in a dominantly heterosexual industry. And the rest of my night, I just try to connect with friends and loved ones. I end up sleeping at 2 am or 3 am. It depends on my brain and if it’s still running with ideas.
I have a dance break to shake me up in between my work hours. That’s something that I learned from Mich Dulce. She always had these dance breaks in her studio when she was still based in Manila.
I highly recommend that you follow me on Spotify because I have the best playlists. Impeccable music taste is the only thing that I am proud of. Sharing playlists is also my love language.
I’m listening to a lot of Wet, Rhye, and Mac Ayres for the feels. I switch it up with 88 Rising artists, Brockhampton, Kelela, and for some bouncy house music to dance to. I’m also listening to Muna’s version of Normani’s “Motivation,” which I just stumbled upon recently. It’s on repeat just for that fantasy that we need once in a while.
For as long as the situation is like this, we will continue to sell our archive pieces. Not only do we get to help our displaced sewers, but we are also able to sustain the brand’s operations. It’s a struggle to stay afloat right now for the creative and independent retail industry.
We donate our extra earnings to the production of PPEs for frontliners.
This pandemic has put us in a tough situation. It’s so uncertain and bleak. But we are finding new ways to operate and produce what is essential. We are also trying to produce items with lower prices but still maintaining the DNA of our label and can still be on the roster of our high-end contemporaries. I just want to keep everyone involved with keeping Proudrace afloat. Even if it feels like we are back at square one.
How do I let out my frustrations? Crying in a fetal position. Hahaha, no! I just try my best to be creative and produce something that would make me happy. I’m still finishing a collection for Proudrace and doing creative consultation for other brands.
Sometimes, I do catch myself being in my feelings and I just ride it out. I don’t suppress it. I acknowledge all the emotions that go with it. I can’t wait to get a BMX bike though so at least I can bike around every time I would get frustrated. (Update: Since they eased up the lockdown rules, I did get that bike. I just use it for regular errands as I’m still a one-man team.)
Weirdly enough, I also keep on watching disaster films (‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is always my favorite), zombie movies, and post-apocalyptic films too. A really macabre habit I picked up considering the situation we are in right now. Oh, I love watching videos of miniature food and restoration of vintage finds. Fail videos are there to help me sleep.
To be honest, I don’t really think about the immediate future that much. I definitely look forward to all of my future plans. But I’m trying to live in the now and produce whatever it is that I can right now with limited resources. I create what I think would be essential now and what would make sense when I release it.
What keeps me sane? The continuous connection with friends and loved ones. It helps to know that there are other people out there who are experiencing the same thing and also have no clue where this is all going. It gives me that sense of comfort that we are all fighting the same fight.
I wish I visited my family more often in the past year because I’m isolated from them right now. It is the longest time that I have not seen them in person. I wish I gave out hugs more and spent more time with friends. I am a workaholic so even on Christmas Eve, I would still be working. Simple things are what we tend to forget.
What’s keeping me hopeful? The goodness of humanity.” -Rik Rasos as told to Olivia Estrada
Rik Rasos is the creative director of Proudrace, a contemporary brand established in 2012 with industrial designer Patrick Bondoc. “Distortions and approximations is constantly seen in their designs,” says the official website of their garments. “It’s a play on oversized proportions, materials, and off-beat references infusing humor into conceptual, contemporary expressions.” The brand has met international recognition with stockists all over the globe, a nod from Vogue Italia via their Vogue Talents platform in 2018, and a feature in HighSnobiety in 2017. In 2018, the brand collaborated with Human for a collection featuring Proudrace’s signature over deconstruction and streetwear. Follow @proudrace and @rikrasos on Instagram for the latest.