Stay Home Snaps: Off The Hook

Staff sequestered in both Montreal and Paris are channeling their creative sides.

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According to Off The Hook‘s Montreal and Paris staff, there’s no reason not to make the most of downtime. Whether working on personal projects or work commitments, this isolation period is a perfect time for self-improvement. Not that there isn’t a time and place to indulge social media, of course.

The crafty OTH employees and colleagues are maintaining artsy hobbies, maximizing their fresh air intake and listening to musical favorites, all while breaking in new kicks indoors.

Arthur Ramonda, sales associate

What’s your daily routine?

I wake up naturally, if I am lucky before noon. Then the first thing I do, quarantine or not, is drink yerba mate, a traditional Argentinian tea. Honestly, after that, it varies day by day. I could be spending my afternoon either Facetiming my friends, playing Zelda on my Game Boy, or walking around my neighborhood, which is actually when I get most of my creative ideas.

Usually, I only start getting productive at around 8 p.m. I go to my room, play some Daft Punk and start working. I draw, scan, paint, embroider, Photoshop. This can go on for hours, basically until I fall asleep.

Where in your home do you like to work?

In my room, like Frank Ocean would say. But if it’s nice out I’ll paint on my roof.

What do you wear while working from home?

I honestly haven’t been dressing much differently since being in quarantine. I’ve been wearing some classic 504 Levi’s jeans, knit pullovers and on warmer days, some Stüssy shorts and a rotation between Ringleaders, Carhartt WIP and OTH classic tees.

Do you wear footwear at home?

Indoors, I only wear a pair of traditional moccasins that I’ve had for years. Otherwise, I wear my New Balance 990s, my NOAH x Solovair or my Art by J. Arthur Converse.

What are you eating now?

Apples.

What are you listening to, watching and doing for fun?

I’m listening to Daft Punk, Playboi Carti, João Gilberto, Kanye West, Tame Impala and Chicago lately. In terms of Montreal artists that I appreciate, I would say Kaytranada, Josad and Freakey. And for fun, I have started playing Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy, a game I never really had the time to complete.

How do you stay in a positive headspace while in isolation? How are you staying creative?

Though I definitely miss hanging out with the OTH staff or playing soccer on Tuesdays with the Ringleaders Football Club, I have tried to make quarantining an overall positive experience. In a way, through this chaos the world feels more united. We are all in this together – experiencing the same isolation.

Since we cannot physically interact with our local streetwear boutiques like Off the Hook, brands have been brainstorming new ways of staying connected. I was lucky enough to be approached by Converse to participate in their Create at Home campaign through my work. I Initially started making artwork for myself which brought happiness into my life. Now I am happy to share this joy with others.

Do you have any advice for creatives who aren’t used to working from home?

Do whatever seems right for you, set up someplace where you can concentrate alone and take advantage that you can work on your own schedule. Whenever you feel inspired to do something go for it but enjoy the freedom of not being bound to your usual office hours.

Danièle Proulx, designer and production manager

What’s your daily routine?

I need a morning smoothie to start my day, plus a yoga session, and a quick walk outside. Then I get creative and do as much sewing and design as I can! Being by myself allows me to get into a super focused creative mindset. I’m also making masks for my people — it has become my main hobby!

Where in your home do you like to work?

The small room I set up as an atelier. It’s perfect to work on upcoming OTH collections and my personal projects. I’m in there all day and at night I work on handmade pieces from my couch. I started a sashiko quilt, it’ll become my isolation trophy.

What do you wear while working from home?

I’m a fan of ample and comfortable clothes. Oversized… like 6XL.

Do you wear footwear at home?

Oddly enough, May still feels like winter here, it’s so cold! I wear my The North Face slip-on or some Suicoke with heavy wool socks to keep me warm.

What are you eating now?

I wish the baking gods would’ve whispered to me at this point, but nah, simple is more my thing. Simple, fresh, light, always with a ginger twist.

What are you listening to, watching and doing for fun?

I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy (again) — I should have surgical skills at this point — and I just finished The Last Dance on Netflix. I listen to various podcasts to educate myself on new things. As for music, I listen to Donald Glover‘s latest album on repeat when I sew. I always say Donald because I feel that as a French speaker, it’s so hard to pronounce “Childish“… or maybe it’s just me?

How do you stay in a positive headspace while in isolation? How are you staying creative?

I’m very grateful to be able to work from home. And also for the internet to exist, allowing us to stay connected to people and to everything that is happening in society while being home and safe. It enables an incredible opening in terms of creativity. For me, it’s the perfect storm to push limits to higher levels and realize projects I’ve always wanted to take on.

Do you have any advice for creatives who aren’t used to working from home?

Turn everything off. Give yourself as much space as you can, do what’s inside of you and listen. Let things come to you. Breathe.

Laurent Poignot, creative consultant

What’s your daily routine?

I usually wake up around 7 a.m. Monday to Saturday, have a coffee, listen to the news on radio and take my dog Billy for a walk when he finally decides to open his eyes. Then I run four miles or I begin to tackle my to-do list.

Where in your home do you like to work?

I don’t have a desk at home so I work from my sofa with my laptop on my knees or on the coffee table. I’ve worked sitting on the floor in airports terminals, cab backseats and in the middle of bar coaches in trains so I can deal with this, no prob.

What do you wear while working from home?

Many people of my close circle work from home wearing pajamas — I can’t. As I have a lot of video calls with my team, I get dressed everyday like it’s a regular office day. But obviously I have my comfy Paris Saint-Germain x Jordan sweatpants on most of the time. No shame!

Do you wear footwear at home?

Randomly my Nike Benassi or my Raised by Wolves men’s slide sandals. I also sometimes wear rare and brand new sneakers as slippers…

What are you eating now?

I feel too stressed to go to the supermarket. People don’t really respect social distancing and I’m afraid of germs, so I buy healthy products in some little organic stores in my neighborhood. I try to stay in shape, so I care about what I eat daily. But it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying cool natural wines curated by Le Cave Paris.

What are you listening to, watching and doing for fun?

As many of us, I’m into binging Netflix, especially BoJack Horseman, and I go on Mubi for rare or indie movies. Regarding music, my friend Arthur King creates very good playlists on Spotify, so I listen to his good choice of tracks everyday (thanks, buddy). And I must confess that as spring is already here in Paris, I listen to a lot of Italian pop music. No shame, again!

How do you stay in a positive headspace while in isolation? How are you staying creative?

I often talk to my team about the projects we have going on, so we have a good creative dynamic together. I’m obviously doing a screen overdose by the end of the day so I draw graffiti sketches and I read, magazines or books. I’m quite fed up with scrolling Instagram or blogs so I rediscovered my magazine collection (Clark, Complex, Vapors, XLR8R) and I actually found a few creative gems in it.

Do you have any advice for creatives who aren’t used to working from home?

I’ve worked from home as a freelancer for more than 10 years. I know how it’s hard in the beginning to stay focused on getting stuff done when you can chill instead. The keys are your to-do list — written by hand and stuck on your laptop screen — and going straight to the point! Time will go faster. Also, wake up early, exactly how you would if you were going to an office.

Louis-Martin Tremblay, collaborator, footwear designer

What’s your daily routine?

Not a lot has changed surprisingly, I need to keep a routine since my studio is still rolling and I have always been working as a freelancer so it’s not much of a transit for me.

I wake up early, lace up for a run, back home for a family breakfast. The days are a bit more scattered as I have my son home full time and I have to alternate between work, playtime, online school. This is the most challenging because I cannot keep a creative flow for too long.

When the little one is asleep I put on a mix from HÖR BERLIN, pour myself a glass of Pastis and start free sketching illustrations or animation as my alter ego to escape.

Where in your home do you like to work?

I have a desk but I work on the dining table. It’s big, I can spread out and it has natural light all day. Even when I was a kid I used to sit at the dinning table to draw while my mom would cook, I guess it’s a cozy habit.

What do you wear while working from home?

I usually work naked and blast the heat on…. Not true. I have been wearing a beanie until I can get a fade. The hoody is the most important piece as it allows me to free myself from outside distraction and really focus — remember, I have a seven-year-old going crazy being confined.

Lately I alternate between the latest Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance collab, daisy color hoodie and my OTH varsity red hoodie. Sweatpants of course, but when I wanna “dress up” and stay cozy [I put on] a broken-in pair of denim.

Do you wear footwear at home?

No shoes allowed indoors, are slides considered footwear? Jokes aside I have been breaking in my Off The Hook x Reebok Electro 3D 97 so I can parade them around once we get out of this confinement, it’s like wearing slippers and they stay fresh and clean.

What are you eating now?

I haven’t been ordering in too much, I love cooking home while listening to good beats independently of the pandemic. But definitely been cooking more comfort food then usual like mac and cheese, burritos, shepherd’s pie and waaayyy too much coffee…

What are you listening to, watching and doing for fun?

I don’t watch Netflix or play video games. I do miss watching the occasional NBA game on my phone… and thank god it’s not NFL season yet. Been catching up on books or re-reading some classics like Where’d You Get Those? from Bobbito Garcia, and Let My People Go Surfing from Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.

I am a huge audiobook listener. When I need to zen out, I go back to classic like Essentialism from Greg McKeown, Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki and Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, translated by John Minford. They keep me grounded and have a positive take on the situation.

How do you stay in a positive headspace while in isolation? How are you staying creative?

I won’t lie: it’s a roller coaster. Some day I feel like it’s groundhog day where I wake up and I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is still happening.” Running is already a meditation for me and has become even more precious in having my alone time and zoning out for an hour or two.

I think this situation has reduced a lot of the noise around us. By noise, I mean everything our mind gets fed. Personally I feel it has allowed my creative mind to be more pure and less influenced by that non-stop consumption.

Getting back to basics and really focusing on what I am trying to express through my creative process. It was always present but I think it’s even more present with all the ethical issues coming out of this pandemic on where things are made and why we make them.

Do you have any advice for creatives who aren’t used to working from home?

I would start by saying don’t judge yourself if you feel like doing nothing, this is a unique situation. If you are still working from home, try to keep some sort of routine in your working hours, balanced with walking outside or online sport to get out of your head and enter your body, even for just 30 minutes. That balance is really key even in “normal” life.

If you have more time on your hands, get some knowledge and craft. The work we do is about learning to advance. Then apply this knowledge to concrete projects to really experience the learning until it becomes second nature. For example, I got back into sewing small projects, which I had put aside for a while.

Keep some social habits through Zoom, Instagram, and keep sharing discoveries or learning. What goes around comes around and you’ll get some fire back to ignite another creative session of yours.

My daily mantra has been alternating between “don’t fill the void, explore it” and “am I part of the problem or the solution?”

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