RITUALS is a new series we’ve launched for 2021 to gain insight and inspiration from the team at &SONS and hear how they channel creativity and remain focussed during these unprecedented times.
James and Phil have a long friendship, even before &SONS and shared a love for fashion and all things creative. When setting up the company and launching the Kickstarter campaign, Phil contacted James about support with the branding. Having run creative agencies for almost 20 years, James was immediately drawn to the &SONS style and soon became part of the journey.
As part of the new series, we wanted to hear how James has kept on top of the growing business and what rituals he has to ensure he remains focussed and level-headed through these crazy times.
In recent years, and certainly in the last 12 months I've come to realise that life is incredibly short and sometimes, you need to slow down and take a good look at what you have and be thankful. During the initial restrictions of 2020, I found myself taking on a slower way of life and embracing the simplicity that lockdown offered. The stress was still there, both businesses needed attention and there was a lot of uncertainty out there. But it was almost the excuse I needed, as so much of it was out of my control.
So I took the time to embed some new rituals into my life. Simple things that I’d either put to one side or never had the time to do.
For me, music fills the house and studio, nearly every hour of the day. I am terrible for remembering artists and tracks, I’m not organised enough to have a library of music to draw down on so I simply head to Spotify, select an artist radio and discover new bands and songs from genres I like. Music can change my mood, lift my spirits and create an atmosphere like nothing else. For Sunday mornings it’s blues and acoustic, for concentration I listen to Hang massive or Pink Floyd and when I run I tend to opt for bands like Bicep or St Germain. Growing up in the 90’s I’m also a huge fan of grunge but nowadays it’s the acoustic versions such as Nirvana and Pearl jam unplugged. To think Smells Like Teen Spirit is going to be 30 years old blows my mind.
My wife always tells me that we need to "get out and get some fresh air". And I’ll be honest, there are times when it’s the last thing Id’ want to do as the inbox fills up or a new season launches on Netflix. But that time out in the fresh air either on my own or with the family is never a regret. We all know the benefits of this but we’ve also become very good and making excuses not to. But as some of us are now working from home, even the daily commute has been taken from us so there has never been a better time to make changes and improve our mental health.
It may be a trying time but 2020/21 will be a memorable period for many reasons.
When my children were born, I set up an email account for them both. I always pictured them on their 18th birthday reading emails from years ago for the very first time - hearing me talk to them and share moments and memories of the day it happened. Sometimes it’s just a sentence and a picture - just like our parents when they wrote the names and dates on the back of old photos. Other times, it’s a full-blown essay, almost like a diary entry where I try and express how I am feeling and why.
For me, it’s become more than a log or diary over time, it’s almost become therapy. As I write to them, I feel like I am letting out the emotions that weigh me down and although I always remain positive, it’s a very therapeutic process and one I will continue to do.
I take 30 minutes to head out and grab a coffee or just walk around the block
I always set a reminder to do this - some of us need a prompt
Get yourself some plants in the house - bring nature indoors.
Reading - Shoe Dog / Phil Knight
Listening to - Earl St. Clair
Latest audiobook - Greenlights / Matthew McConaughey
- Simply brilliant and listen, don’t read.
Wearing - My favourite shirt is the recently released Dark Tan Sunday -
the perfect vintage wash