How can standing still can change the way we work?
Back before this whole pandemic started, I was thinking something needed to change in my life. Over my working career I have constantly adapted and evolved both my skill base, but also my attitude, to the changing situations. So who'd have thought that it would take a crisis in the form of this pandemic to push me to take that step forward, beyond.
Stepping forward is something we do every day, but crucially not something we think about everyday. We get up, get washed, get dressed and we go to work. This regime is one that is familiar and comforting to us as humans. But equally we can feel like we have lost autonomy to make our own decisions.
"This is not what I want"
I remember sitting in a hotel restaurant eating my breakfast with one of my work colleagues, on a trip to one of the factories I was working with. Up on the 54th floor of a luxury hotel, looking out of the window at the miles of industrialised land all around us. The miles of concrete, the dirt and smog & the constant noise. I thought "This is not what I want".
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. It was my dream as a small child to be creative for a living. The sheer joy of seeing a concept come from an idea and develop all the way into a finished product is an amazing thing. But this process and how we live is just so wasteful and outdated.
After over 20 years of designing and developing apparel in the way we all do, I was suddenly feeling the impact of this industry i love. All I could start to see was waste everywhere. Wasted materials, wasted time, wasted energy, all ebbing away to produce another product.
"If something isn't working, then change it"
I've always had the mantra: "If something isn't working, then change it". So to action this mantra I've done what most people do, I listen and try to get better at my job, I speak to people to understand other people's points of view, I offer solutions or options, or ultimately (like most people) I move on to the next opportunity.
This is a common thought process that everyone goes through in their working life. But in this "new normal" life that the pandemic has given us, it has lead me to realise that if we want to make a real difference, we need to just stop.
Stop making decisions without considering the consequences. Stop producing products that are ineffective. Stop wasting materials, time and energy.
There is already a growing movement working on the circular economy, which analyses our material and energy output and looks at ways to reduce or reuse. But we also need to get better at making decisions. And to do this we need to slow down.
Slowing down to truly think, research and consider what is the best way forward, before we action something would ultimately help eliminate a majority of the waste that happens in our industry and in our lives.
So (like most of you) I have been stationary for the last couple of months thinking about how I want to approach my life moving forward. I have looked at what is best for me, my family and the world we live in, and I am now ready to step forward.
So, I have created a company (Jonn Langan Studio). Created a space, and created a principle that I intend to work by.
"Think more, waste less"
Using this principle, I intend to make sure it is infused into all that I do. From the first conversation at introduction, to the last word used to promote a product. I want to make sure we all think about what, why and who for, before we start making anything.
Questions like: Do we need this product? Who's it for? Will they want it? How long will it last? These are some of the basic questions that should be asked (and answered) before we undertake creating anything new.
I'm looking to roll out topics like these, to try and get the conversations moving in the right direction now, so we can all make sure we are making the right product for the right reasons.
"Getting it right first is the most environmentally friendly thing we can do"
I'm ready to speak to those of you who believe in this principle, wish they could do more or who just want to learn more in how we can be better at what we do.
Creative Director, Designer & enemy of waste (in all its forms).