As Bangkokians go through another round of lockdown, they have creatively adapted their homes to function as offices, gyms, art studios, and so much more. In our Lockdown Lowdown series, we talk to professionals from different areas of life to discuss how they are keeping on with their careers, what they are doing to stay sane during the new normal, and give us tips on how to live a better life at home.

Forget about getting dressed up to go out. Sweatpants and t-shirts are, without a doubt, the de facto home office attire of these times. As we all work from our humble abode, staying comfy is equally as important as staying productive. Since people aren’t splurging on clothing in the middle of a pandemic, the fashion industry has definitely taken a hit. As many fashion brands struggle to survive, there have been a few that have been able to pull through this time because of their willingness to adapt to the current needs.

One of the few designers who is creating clothing based on the current demand for home-ready pieces is Salisa Cheewapansri, namesake and founder of clothing brand SALISA. As more people are showing up to work online in comfier clothing, Salisa took the opportunity to create more casual pieces like t-shirts and elastic waist pants. By drawing on her customers’ demands, she is able to keep her brand going throughout a time when people are less inclined to spend money on fashion. We chat to her about what she’s been up to and how she’s finding inspiration to continue creating new collections from home.

Founder and designer Salisa Cheewapansri
What have you been working on during this time?

I have been doing pretty much the same things as before working on my brand and new collections.

How has COVID-19 and the lockdown affected your work?

Yes definitely. I have to adjust to the customers’ needs and what they want to wear right now. Sometimes we plan really ahead of time, hoping things will be better and we would already be back to normal. But that hasn’t been the case. We’re still at home, and the clothing and what we offer needs to adjust to the situation too.

SALISA’s latest collection reflects the more casual styles that people prefer during this time
Where do you find inspiration these days?

This has been really hard, I would say. Usually, I find inspiration from traveling and experiencing new things. This time, I go back to my childhood memories and bring back the things I’ve experienced before.

How do you stay motivated?

I would say I’m a positive person, so I always think about a better future. It keeps me motivated!

Have you picked up any new hobbies or skills? What are they?

I haven’t picked up any new hobbies, but I’d say I definitely appreciate being at home with my parents more. I used to go out all the time, so I am more grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with them now.

What is the first thing you’d like to do when things go back to normal? Any plans for the future?

I definitely want to travel. I’m already planning to do that after this is over. But with the current situation, nothing is certain at all.

How do you think fashion will change after the pandemic?

I think a lot more people will continue to work from home even after the pandemic. So I think casual clothing trends will last for a while – even longer than we expect to see after the pandemic is over.

In Transit T-Shirt from SALISA’s SS21 collection
How has your brand SALISA evolved through the pandemic and the lockdowns? 

SALISA’s latest collections have been a little more casual than usual as well. We have to adjust to what people are willing to buy and wear right now.

What is some advice you’d like to give to other budding fashion designers during this time? 

This is a really hard question! I think I would say do your best and bring out the most of your passion right now. The current situation really fosters a survival of the fittest environment. Fashion business are really affected by the pandemic, so it’s not only about designing and being creative anymore. It’s also about how to get your message out and how you communicate with customers as well. Creativity alone will not grow your brand. There are many other things to it as well.

Minnie Ongsricharoenporn
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Minnie is a distance runner and fitness junkie who is always on the lookout for her next runcation destination. Gyms, spas, and hotels are her natural habitats. She hopes to complete all six World Marathon Majors one day.