During these times of great uncertainty and disorder, we are moved to look inward and find ways to cope with anxiety while managing the struggles that come with daily life. The arts and our own creative endeavors continue to contribute to our wellbeing, allowing us to freely express ourselves when words aren’t enough to convey our emotions and when we simply want an escape to get back into the right headspace.
In this series, we delve into the works and musings of artists, fashion stylists, designers, entrepreneurs, and other creatives who continue to share their craft and inspire others to carve their own path and cultivate a sense of hope and passion.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“In February, a month before the lockdown, I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend and brought the studio with me (Namì and StyledByCath). Most days are spent packing orders for Namì, sorting clothes , working out, cleaning and organizing the house —just needing to find a home for everything in our lives. I have also invested time in cooking and finding my inner green thumb.
“During this time of isolation, we were forced to stay inside our own space, encouraging ourselves to look into our immediate surroundings. This, for me, has inspired a new appreciation for who I am. I am able to discover and am still discovering a new persona of myself that I was never aware of.
“The last couple of months have been an entirely new experience for me. I’m used to the fast-paced life — working everyday even on weekends and holidays. The sudden need for us to stay home has shifted my worldview and I had to adapt and accept that we are now in period of limited movement. This lockdown has allowed me to create a routine for myself, a more slow-paced life that I have always wondered about.
“This strange time has brought unexpected discoveries in taking up new hobbies – baking, making complex recipes, and building an urban jungle. In many ways, it has been a time of discovering the many other ways I express the creativity I already knew I possessed as a stylist.
I set up my day with things that comfort or empower me, and remind myself that it’s okay to feel good in this instant even if the future is uncertain
“For so many of us, the pandemic has temporarily put the world as we know it on pause. I recognize that I’m in an especially privileged position that I am still able to keep myself afloat, while this isn’t the case for so many others. Hence, I have really taken this time to rethink how I have been doing my work, especially in terms of ensuring the continued support and safety of my team. They have been so essential to my business that they deserve my effort in trying to make this new normal work for us.
“I’ve been nostalgic for moments of “normalcy”: warm hugs from friends and family, going on holidays to magical places, working on shoots, face-to-face connections, long massages, the thrill of nailing an outfit and just simply leaving the house, nonchalant and dauntless.
“We’ve all been thrown into peculiar times, yet we’re all still choosing to show up and adapt. I take pride in that fact, and just try to focus on my “new now” as a time for me to continue to grow.
“If today feels too big, I try focusing on what I can do in the next few hours. I set up my day with things that comfort or empower me, and remind myself that it’s okay to feel good in this instant even if the future is uncertain.
“I’ve added cooking and baking to my set of skills as if I were adding them to my résumé. It’s crazy how the quarantine forced me to learn my favorite recipes and dishes. Also, celebrating our quarantine birthdays impelled me to be extra creative in making wonderful birthday spreads, which I never thought I would be able to do.
“This is an opportunity to build resilience, evolve, and cultivate a sense of community that looks out for one another. We are now heading into a cautious new world and this is a reminder that we are all adapting.
“In unforeseeable times, when so much is beyond our power, we have to return to the basics and to what is within our control. We may not be able to control our situation and the future, but we do get to control our daily habits and mindset. This doesn’t only help me accept what things I have to do differently during this time of uncertainties, but also still creates space for me to have hope that things can change. In this new normal, we just need to be kinder to ourselves, welcome the person we are all becoming, and also strengthen our sense of community and really take care of each other.
“Now that I have so much time on my hands, only leaving the house when I have a shoot or only when I need to go to the grocery or see my family, I am able to rethink and re-evaluate priorities especially when it comes to Namì and StyledbyCath.
“I have been doing the packing of orders myself for our Namì customers and really trying to build relationships with each of our clients.
“As for the styling studio, I have been doing a closet clean up during the lockdown and was able to build a space (@ClosetByCath) for pieces that were mostly worn once by my clients. I hope that by letting people buy secondhand, I’m giving them an opportunity to begin their journey towards sustainable fashion.
“I’ve also learned to adopt a more conscious lifestyle by really thinking through my purchases, actions, and the inevitable consequences.
I’ve been given the space to be introspective and learn new skills to create rather than consume
“I’ve been given the chance to do things that I have always found interesting but did not have the time to pursue. I’ve been given the space to be introspective and learn new skills to create rather than consume.
“I’ve always had to be creative to keep things going and find new business opportunities. I never thought my cakes would be a hit to friends that I even say no to orders now because my hands are already full. Smaller accomplishments such as this have been very fulfilling indeed.
“If anything, these trying times have made us recognize that the world needs us to work together, to forget our differences and to recognize the inequalities among us, so that we may help those who have less and find comfort in our shared humanity. The only thing that really gets me going is hope for a better tomorrow.”— Cath Sobrevega as told to Carmencita S. Sioson