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 miss having small gatherings with friends and family over a meal with endless stories. It’s something so common pre-quarantine, but now that such a get-together is so elusive, I am longing for it each day.
“I also miss traveling and learning about new cultures. Every day for weeks now, I take a mental and aural vacation to Latin America or any beach for that matter. I manifest this by playing Latin jazz funk on replay while I dress in tropical outfits, while my husband works with his desktop playing a video of a beach somewhere in the Pacific.
“Although, this experience has also allowed me to discover that I’m actually loving working from home, and that I can be more productive with my time because I don’t need to sit in traffic for hours. Because my overall mood is generally better, I have a clearer head to start my day.
I’m a work in progress, but I’m striving to be more sustainable in other parts of my life outside fashion
“I’ve also become more mindful about every small decision I make daily such as buying food that doesn’t come in disposable containers, procuring fresh and natural foods over fast food, and so many other little things that Im grateful for. I’m a work in progress, but I’m striving to be more sustainable in other parts of my life outside fashion. Who would’ve thought that all we needed was time to be more conscious about everything we do?
“I now know my way around the kitchen, which was definitely not the case pre-quarantine. Because my husband Chris prefers wholesome ingredients, we became more particular with what we buy. I started baking rye rustic bread and after the third try, I can say that I’m really happy about it. I’ve made pizzas and tacos using healthier alternatives. Ive also started baking wholesome cakes and cookies with rye flour and coconut sugar or muscovado. But I think I’m most proud about my roast chicken, which came out really great on the first try.
“At Vestido, a fashion rental space I co-founded last year, while our rental operations are suspended, we decided to launch an initiative called Fashion For Others. Fashion For Others is a benefit sale launched by Vestido with the help of Steph Kienle Gonzalez. It was inspired by Courage Cebu, a fundraising platform that sells art, furniture, and fashion for the benefit of the frontliners in the Visayas. I donated pieces from my wardrobe and they almost got sold out. This was also my first time to organize a fundraiser. It occupies a big part of my day, but it’s been really fulfilling.
“My partner at Vestido, Cindy Go Bayot, Steph and I talked about which communities are heavily affected by the crisis and need aid the most. This is how we chose our beneficiary partners: PAGASA, which focuses on providing survival packs for families who have lost their means of livelihood during the crisis; House of Laurel, which currently manufactures and distributes PPEs to hospitals; and The Moment Group, which provides meals for frontliners.
“We reached out to friends with great style and fashion designers with good hearts to open up their closets for Fashion For Others. With some designers who donated, Fashion For Others also became a way for them to raise funds for their staff, where 50% of profits go to the designer, and the other half to our partner beneficiaries. We have strictly indicated in our guidelines that delivery of pieces from our donors to buyers will take place after the lockdown to ensure that we are not putting unnecessary risk to couriers.
“With Qurator, while I assume the role of a decision maker, I’m lucky to have a core group which consists of senior stylists Maita Baello and Melville Sy, who have helped me ensure that everyone in the team is safe and taken care of. Our priority is to make sure that we attend to the team and their needs. Our regular employees continue to receive their salaries while the rest are given access to a crisis fund.
There will be a tapering of systems for the better
“Because 100% of our work is put on hold, the next step was self-improvement through an internal weekly styling masterclass I started with the team two weeks into the lockdown. We’ve done eight weeks of coursework and it’s been really great. It became a way for us to continue our fashion dialogue and learn new topics, which I must admit, we’ve tried multiple times to schedule before the quarantine, but never really had the time to do as it was very rare for us to have a common schedule, let alone have everyone in the same place at the same time. I realized that it also became a way for us to connect and check up on each other.
“While we’re hopeful that everything picks up from where we’ve left off, I know our work and the whole industry will never be the same. I’m foreseeing a shift in how we do business, with new safety protocols in place and decision makers identifying which steps and structures are absolutely essential. There will be a tapering of systems for the better. We’ve already started doing this at Qurator where we’re evaluating our current structure and building new methods to ensure a smooth post-lockdown transition. We are prioritizing our team members by laying out better health and financial packages for them. We’re also looking at our craft in-depth and finding ways on how to add more value and become more sustainable in our practice.
“Once the quarantine ends, the first order of business for me is to see our team at Qurator and give them a big hug, and start implementing all the planning we’ve done during the quarantine. I’d like to go to the salon too, where I will spend hours having my nails and hair done as they really need some TLC, followed by a 2-hour long massage, for sure!
“Subsequently, we’ll open our Vestido showroom immediately so we can begin the process of delivering pieces to buyers who purchased during our benefit sale. We’re excited for the shoppers to finally get their pieces.
“I would say, the bright side of the quarantine is that we’re given the time to rethink and refocus our priorities; to think of ways to do things differently in a way that adds value to our lives, to those around us, and our environment.
“I can only speak for myself and the people I have spoken to during the quarantine, but I think the ‘new normal’ or ‘next normal’ enables us to become more mindful of every decision we make, big or small, which in effect, will add value to others; consume more quality than quantity and support and appreciate products and services closer to home, and value gatherings like never before, where we get to hug and kiss people on the cheek, among others.
“I listened to a podcast by trendforecaster Li Edelkoort who said, ‘…the virus can be seen as a representation of our conscience… It brings to light what is terribly wrong with society and every day that becomes more clear. It teaches us to slowdown and to change our ways.’ That couldn’t be more true.” — Pam Quiñones as told to Carmencita S. Sioson
Cover image: Pam’s work desk. (Image courtesy of Pam Quiñones)
Pam Quiñones is the founder and one of the senior stylists of Qurator Studio. In addition to a handful of diplomas she has earned from various fashion institutions around the globe and a master’s degree from Istituto Marangoni, Pam’s strong editorial background as fashion editor continues to provide a new perspective to advertising and celebrity styling. Her styling philosophy is always a balance of masculine and feminine, form and function, with an undertone of sex, and is most apparent in the numerous covers she’s styled for Rogue Magazine. In 2014, she established Qurator Studio as an incubator and artist representation agency for promising young stylists as she serves as their mentor and the studio’s creative director. She is also the co-founder of Vestido Manila, a curated fashion rental site that houses some of the most coveted designer pieces, both local and international.