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Nate Brown    

Nate Brown

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

On Thursday, we welcomed our friend Nate Brown on our second Thinking of You series live stream and learned how to think about quarantine a little bit differently to help get through this together. 

Nate Brown has been a Creative Director in the fashion industry for 15 years now, and has worked with artists (like Kanye, Beyonce, Jay Z, etc). Now, he runs Studio Institute, who partners with people to build brands. We got to chat with Nate about his perspective on quarantining and how this time has given him a new perspective of life and routine. 

Nate’s main takeaway is that the internet is a tool that we have barely tapped the potential of and its ability to connect people for good is really, really incredible. Nate feels that we understand only a fraction of what it’s capable of doing and that is one positive aspect that COVID-19 has brought us: using the internet in ways we haven't thought of before quarantine and continuing to evolve after.

Nate stressed that it is important we are always there for each other, and to be a network for people in times of need. This is going to be a way of life for the foreseeable future - so he’s not thinking about “post COVID” right now. Instead, he is focused on “how to help” right now. Whether that’s with his sister who is on the frontlines, helping brands to navigate charitable donations, our energy should be focused on helping the COVID-19 situation at this time. 

Then, we got into a little Q&A.

HOW HAS NATE BEEN COPING?

Priority number one was developing a schedule, similar to if he wasn't in quarantine. Ensuring he’s waking up at the same time, exercising at the same time, and going on social distance walks to get out of the house. 

HOW DO YOU SET WORK BOUNDARIES WHILE AT HOME?

Set very clear work-life boundaries - this is super important! Being inside and taking short brief walks is hard! For Nate, he tries to schedule and separate tasks, i.e. not doing laundry while he is working, not working while he is cooking dinner, etc. By separating things that would have been separated by physical distance in our normal routine, it can help to clearly define boundaries at home. It also helps with distractions! Nate has ADHD and so he tries to keep the multitasking down to a minimum while setting those clear boundaries. 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT POST QUARANTINE?

To see friends and family, and to see how the world will change through this! His friend Jerry Lorenza said, “the worst thing that can happen is that we come out of this unchanged.” This applies to all of us, every industry, none of us will be the same and in a weird way that's an exciting proposition to grapple with!

HOW WILL QUARANTINE CHANGE CULTURE IN THE FUTURE?

Nate thinks it’s really awesome to see digital connection happening right now. We thought we were connected and using social networks before, but now it’s next level. The shared experience is the quarantine experience. Memes are fun and important in their own right as a mental reprise but

"if we don’t all come out of this as excellent dancers, we’ve failed”.

We’re just beginning to understanding the internet better when we thought we had it figured out. Although it took a global pandemic for us to realize its full potential, it is really cool and promising for our future. 

HOW DOES A CRISIS CREATE SPACE FOR INNOVATION?

It corners you and forces you to make decisions based on survival and when that's the case you’re forced to innovate. Some of the most innovative companies have come up during some of the most challenging times politically, socio-economically, etc. It forces innovation because it doesn't give you a choice. 

HOW HAVE YOU STRUGGLED WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING THIS TIME?

Nate is taking the route of being vulnerable to coworkers, teammates, friends, and family by opening up about the way he is feeling on a day to day basis. It's not the time to be a hero. Reach out to people you know who might be quarantining alone. 

“I'm one of those people! So I’m constantly reaching out and asking for friends to send me a meme if i’m not feeling well. I’m taking things very micro, which is opposite of how I normally think.” 

Taking baby steps throughout the day like the “make your bed” theory - if you can just make your bed you set a precedent to handle the next thing, and the next thing, and then the next thing. Nate is taking that approach towards anything nowadays. 

Slack City was developed in response to wanting to bring people together and have a forum to talk openly about ideas - it’s a good time to be vulnerable, reach out, and ask for help. Nobody has a grasp on this situation or when this thing is going to end; having people to talk to in an unknown is extremely helpful. 

HOW DO YOU KEEP UP WITH SLEEP?

Nate hasn't been sleeping well so he is trying to not use phone before bed and getting a full 7.5 or so hours. 

HOW DO YOU SET SOCIAL MEDIA BOUNDARIES?

Don't burden yourself with punishing yourself with being on social media too much right now - he feels being on it right now is beneficial since we can use this platform for awesome opportunity and good, where people can communicate, find solace in each other, laugh, find recipes or workouts. Nate challenges the perspective of not wanting to be on it at this time. However, if you follow accounts you don't like, unfollow them or mute it. Use the tools to your advantage. 

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE THE LAST WEEK

“What the fuck” and also, “optimistic” 

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILL(S) YOU'RE FOCUSED ON IMPROVING DURING THIS TIME?

Patience and plant care 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SPENDING EXTRA TIME AT HOME?

Cooking - specifically experimenting with tofu in various forms at the moment. 

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN POSITIVE SELF TALK?

Nate admits he hasn't been doing the best at this recently so he’s trying to wake up and shout “annoying” but helpful things first thing in the morning to help set up his perspective for the day. And reaching out to people to help you!

GOALS FOR 2020 YOU HAD TO SHIFT OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS?

A lot of projects get put on hold but Nate tries not to set impossible goals to begin with because it can dishearten us. Instead, he’s trying to not think about that at all and rather what can he do to ensure the people closest to him are safe and taken care of.