1 June 2020
It’s been a very, very strange year so far..
As we come out on the other side of gloom, and while we give a big sigh of relief, I would just like to reflect on the strangest time of my life.
It has never been imposed, affecting almost half the people on earth, the rule of law to stop working and halt our livelihoods. To watch the world as we know it grind to a halt is an unnerving experience, and all down to a microscopic virus.
AKINN’s production flow was disrupted way back in January, when China imposed their quarantine. From then on everything was flipped upside down. From our design plans, production flow to our capsule launches, total interruption. So we pulled our production back to Singapore. Then came April, that was when we were turned inside out with our mouths aghast. Did we think as a small city state, we would get away without a nationwide lockdown? Well Hong Kong was always the standard bar, for Singapore, and they seemed to be coping considerably well, so yes, I thought we would get away with just social distancing and flip flopping on facemasks’ effectiveness. Singapore was effectively shut down on 7th April 2020.
Well that was then, and here we are, emerging out of our national confinement. So as we transit from our period of resilience to our business of return, this extraordinary experience has been one of uncertainty, boredom, self-loathing, self-reflection and hope for change, of not only for myself and the way I live, create and consume but in a larger, optimistic outlook for all.
Firstly, about AKINN. Our brand started off as an office-centric label, to solve your workwear issues, worn to what is traditionally seen as the workplace and what you expect of your attire. Well this pandemic has just proven to us that you can work anywhere. Have video conferences with your colleagues and clients in your kitchen - the tasks will still be done. But you’d still want to look good and feel confident, even in your dining room. However, we have recognized that, apart from those 2 constants, everything else stops there. We needed designs that were comfortable, first and foremost. Then, it has to project a sense of optimism and positivity, and lastly, for the lack of a better term, ‘Zoom’ happy. If we were going to design any details, they had to be visible from the waist up. We have since designed with more colours and shapes that are comfortable in your ‘new normal’ environments, whether it’s at home or a quick one at the office, and ‘Zoom’ present. We are quite excited to show off our new designs, and we are eagerly anticipating the opening up of our workshop here and also to collaborate with our photographer Wee Khim once again.
There are so many lessons to learn from this pandemic, but the key lesson for me is respect. I have always had the highest regard for our health workers, doctors and especially the nurses, many of whom are foreigners, but this pandemic has just elevated my esteem for them. The different roles they undertake cannot be commended enough, and I am not just talking about the medical practice and assistance they provide. The not so pretty side of taking care of patients make this profession all the more noble, amplified especially in this time of crisis. That being said, I hope our perspective on other professions will also change, not just our recent labels of essential workers, from delivery folks, taxi drivers, Grab drivers, F&B folks, mum and pop hawker stall owners, but also our cleaners, from the HDB estates to the dump trucks we see everyday, up to the helpers who live among us. They all deserve our highest respect. They are not there for parents to use as examples to scare children to study harder, they are a force of people who sweat and toil hard so most citizens in our developed bubbles do not have to.
I have always been an advocate of buy smart, buy less, more about timeless designs and less about trends and consumption. I am hoping that coming out of our quarantine of consumption, we will see a change in the way we consume. Afterall, over- consumption somehow led us to this point, whether it's humans encroaching into the natural habitats of animals or wildlife forced into our habitats. As we dawn into the new normal, I do hope we give nature a chance, to balance itself out, for the sake of all living things.
It has been 6 weeks since SG imposed our self-quarantine period on 7th April. We find out more about what we need, and more importantly what we don’t need.
Stay safe Stay sane,