andrew coimbra
photo by Patrick Lacsina. design by kayleen dicuangco.

Self-Isolation Diary: A Day in the Life of Designer Andrew Coimbra

"To be quite honest I've thought, 'what is the point?' at least five times before really reflecting and thinking more optimistically about where the world might be for the Spring 2021 retail period."

As people around the country wind down their sixth week of self-isolation, FASHION is reaching out to some of our favourite Canadians to get a peek into how they’re living their lives in lockdown (remember: #StayHomeSaveLives). Each week, keep an eye out for new self-isolation diaries from actors, designers, athletes and artists who are riding this uncertain time out with us.

Andrew Coimbra, Designer


The last few weeks have been a very unique and challenging experience. Like many, I’ve become incredibly focused on the climbing numbers that reflect the infection rates across the world, the new government protocols in response to those numbers, and the personal stories coming from friends all over the world. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel consumed by it. It feels like we’re living in a Margaret Atwood novel!

It should go without saying that my heart goes out to my friends and members of my family who are in the healthcare industry. I have made a point of touching base to check in with them often, and making sure that they have a non-healthcare industry person to vent to. People underestimate how emotionally exhausting a role in healthcare can be on a ‘normal’ day, and that the opportunity to escape the internal politics of it all can be a gift.

In the meantime, I have been keeping myself busy—or I should say, I have been made to be kept busy by virtue of my living situation. I am lucky enough to live with my amazing family—nine of us in one house. It’s all part of the European new-immigrant fantasy established by my Avó and Avô (Portuguese for Grandmother and Grandfather), honeyyyy! 

As our family business is still in operation (it is considered an ‘essential business’ by the Government of Ontario at the time of writing this), my niece and nephew have been stuck at home and require home schooling. My mother and I have been taking turns playing Educator. I fear for their future because I don’t imagine they’ll be able to hand in any valuable schoolwork with my strict curriculum of RuPaul’s Drag Race, mid-day face mask breaks, playing with Barbie/Ken dolls, and trying on different IG filters. 

Joking… mostly.

image courtesy andrew coimbra

When I’m not in ‘Guncle’ mode, I’ve been pretty focused on mapping out the future of my label, now more than ever. I’ve done a little bit of reaching out to other designers to see where their heads are, but I think for the most part everyone’s situation is so unique and that has a very big impression on their trajectory. The cancellation of Men’s Fashion Week in Paris at the end of June was a huge milestone, and after such a weak Fall 2020 buying season in February (affected by the onset outbreak of COVID-19 in Asia), it was an unwelcome added layer of ‘grim.’

To be quite honest I’ve thought, ‘what is the point?’ at least five times before really reflecting and thinking more optimistically about where the world might be for the Spring 2021 retail period. 

So, I’ve excitedly begun developing Spring 2021.

A bit of really good news that helped me feel more confident about this decision is that I was just selected as a finalist in a design competition that is a partnership between Not Just a Label, a really fantastic platform that works to support emerging design talent internationally, and Swatch On, an equally fantastic online resource for fabric. I can’t release details just yet, but I am excited nonetheless because the prize of a credit to use toward fabric purchasing takes the huge weight of allocating budget to fabric purchasing off my shoulders, and ultimately makes focusing on other components in the process a lot easier.

I’m desperately worried about the long-term effects—economically, emotionally and physically—that the pandemic will have on all of us. But for now I am trying to maintain an optimistic outlook on how we can use this moment to train ourselves to be more mindful of others and the ways in which we can make the systems many of us rely on more accessible to marginalized individuals, so that we are better equipped in the future.