By Crash

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask artists around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. Today we meet Gary Bott, the Director of Gentle Monster Europe, super cool eyewear brand. In just nine years, Gentle Monster has morphed into a veritable giant of the global sunglasses market, worn by the biggest stars and applauded at the world’s fashion weeks. Founded in 2011 in Seoul by Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster immediately seized on the potential of sunglasses as the ultimate fashion accessory for bold styles.

How has your daily life changed since the beginning of the quarantine?

My work life is made up of two parts: one part is our brand (marketing) and the other part is our business (retail). So the biggest change has been losing the retail part while focusing on the other part – ways to keep our brand energy alive and people management until we re-open our physical stores.

Did you rethink your way of creating?

Although our brand experience is more physical than digital, we have always created content to inspire and keep us connected to our audience. I’ve created new work systems that we will continue beyond quarantine.

Did you realize certain things during this time?

I’ve always been interested in finding the optimum balance of things in life: family, work, relationships, personal growth, everything. Being forced to ‘stop’ and re-evaluate what we’ve achieved (past), where we are (present) and where we need to go (future) has become crystallized.

Does the quarantine inspire you or rather paralyze you?

It’s amplified my focus and discipline. In times of crisis, I react quickly and come up with solutions that deliver positive results. I want to believe that we’ll all come out of this as better versions of ourselves.

Did you start or go back to certain activities you didnt have time to do normally?

I started going for long walks at the end of each working day. This is such a simple joy but one I never used to make time for before. Like running, it’s the meditative ‘no-mind’ state that helps me think by just being in the moment.

What do you think youll take away from this frozen time?

A stronger appreciation of what’s really important: being surrounded by my family and never wanting more than we need.

Are you worried?

No, I learnt a long time ago that worrying is a waste of time and energy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care of course, but there are some things outside of our control. I can only do everything within my power to control a favorable outcome. If I do that then I shouldn’t have to worry.

How do you see life after this crisis?

Different in some ways, the same in others. I think consumerism will become more considered so that we own things as investments rather than temporary desires. We may be asking ourselves “what is essential?” after this. Thankfully, eyewear is essential.

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