Representing the creative future

A lifestyle magazine about the joy of downtime created by CSM Fashion Communication students

CSM FCP students, Pie Sutithon and Deborah Wangsaputri on how they created Rubbertime Journal and the notion of relaxing

During the lockdown, you could argue that the self-care trend reached its ultimate peak. Whether it manifested as homemade bread splashed across your entire Instagram feed, feeling guilty for not learning to crochet or stress-buying bath products online at 3 am, we’ve all felt the pressure to enjoy our new-found free time. But to graduating CSM Fashion Communication students Pie Sutithon and Deborah Wangsaputri, it’s more than just a passing corporate trend, it’s a lifestyle.

Pie and Deborah, from Bangkok, Thailand, and Bandung, Indonesia respectively, come from Central Saint Martins Fashion Communication and Promotion (FCP) course, who’s alumni include Ib Kamara, Gareth Wrighton, and Marfa Journal founder Alexandra Gordienko. “We’re both from Southeast Asian backgrounds, so we wanted to bring together not only what inspires us at home but across the world, too,” says Pie about the starting point of her and Deborah’s final major project, the equivalent to fashion designer’s final collection. All students within the three Fashion Communication pathways; FCP, Fashion Journalism, and Fashion History and Theory create their own unique projects, ranging from magazines to films, photographs, apps, and essays.

Pie and Deborah created Rubber Time Journal, a collection of beautifully designed interviews, editorials, and adverts that radiate a glow akin to the feel of looking at a Jil Sander editorial from the ’90s. There’s a wealth of editorial goodness that revolves around themes of good design, humour, and wellness, including an interview with Jamie Hawkesworth, a write up on Henderson’s restaurant, and photographs of a very large slice of cheese. We caught up with Pie and Deborah to discuss their project,  how it feels to graduate under lockdown, and all things Rubber Time.

joy of downtime
Books on the table

How did you first come up with the concept of Rubber Time Journal? 

We’ve been working together since our second year at Central Saint Martins and we always have fun when we do. For our final project, we decided to create something we both genuinely care about, and not just do something out of necessity. Rubber Time started from a conversation we had when we were both on our placement year. Deborah mentioned this Indonesian phrase ‘jam karet’ meaning time can be stretched, it literally translates into “rubber time,” so we were both immediately drawn into that concept. It’s usually used to describe someone who’s got bad time management, but we thought that was quite a negative definition, so we decided to redefine it as something positive and desirable. To us, rubber time is when time can be moulded, which allows you to stay flexible and make more time for yourself. We wanted to promote the art of waiting and finding a balanced approach to work, leisure, and rest in our day-to-day lives: as workers, consumers, and people.

“Small ideas lead into the biggest and most exciting concepts.”

Tell me a bit about your research process, where do you go for inspiration? 

Most of our best ideas started from our conversations, whether it was about childhood memories, stories, something we had seen, or just books that we’d skimmed through in the library. All of these lead to ideas that got developed into a concept. Small ideas lead into the biggest and most exciting concepts.

Once we had the initial idea for Rubber Time Journal, the first thing we did was create an Instagram account which served as an archive for our research, we posted anything that inspired us and set the mood for the Rubber Time lifestyle.

What do you wish someone had told you at the start of making Rubber Time? 

Honestly, we don’t really wish anyone had told us anything, we really enjoyed and learnt to appreciate the ups and downs of this whole process with the added stress of the pandemic. The most important thing for us was learning to adapt, being flexible, and being ready to improvise.

How did lockdown affect the making of Rubber Time? Was it a positive or a negative?  

We were planning on traveling around for shoots and interviews, but then our plans had to change, that’s when we realised that the whole world was now in Rubber Time. It made us shift our mindsets and see that this was the perfect opportunity for us to really take our time with this project and take a different approach. We started inventing fun and alternative ways to communicate; we would fax and send each other postcards! At the end of the day, this was a truly positive experience.

“The best advice we got was, not to be afraid of trying, but at the same time don’t have any expectations.”

You interviewed people such as Jamie Hawkesworth, how did you first contact him and what advice would you give to students who are trying to interview industry professionals for their own work?  

Deborah worked with Jamie during her placement year and we luckily were able to visit his exhibition in Cornwall before lockdown, so he was happy to talk to us about his Rubber Time, his wellness, and sculptures. The best advice we got was, not to be afraid of trying, but at the same time don’t have any expectations.

Rubber Time Journal by CSM Fashipon Communication Students
Photo in a pool

Your magazine is centred around wellness and leisure, how relevant do you think these things are to 21st-century living, especially after lockdown? 

Wellness and leisure have always been relevant. Sometimes we are so overworked we forget about our mental and physical health. During the lockdown, it was nice to see people re-thinking their priorities and becoming more aware of their needs. We created Rubber Time Journal because we believe that everyone should find their own way of balancing work, rest, and leisure, and we think it’s great to remind ourselves of that, especially for creatives who work in such fast-paced and high-pressure industries.

“Luxury doesn’t have to be extravagant, it can be as easy as having enough sleep, staying hydrated and just taking a step back to fully rest.”

Your tagline is: “It’s a lifestyle.”There’s a big debate at the moment that self-care and leisure have been commodified and are now elitist concepts, how accessible do you think the content of your magazine is for your audience? Or is it more aspirational? 

To us, it’s a reminder for everyone that no matter what happens we can always find ways to balance our lives out. Our definition of a lifestyle is something that exists in your everyday life. Whether it’s as simple as finding a comfortable chair or drinking eight glasses of water a day, it’s a necessity and we’ve presented it in our own way, with a touch of humour.

Is having time to relax a luxury? Should it be? 

We would say yes, to us a luxury doesn’t have to be extravagant, it can be as easy as having enough sleep, staying hydrated and just taking a step back to fully rest. This is why we think it’s important to balance working hard so you can appreciate the downtime.

You collaborated with students from the Fashion Journalism pathway.  How important was it to include text and written features in Rubber Time? Do you think the two courses should work together more?  

Definitely, images and words go hand in hand. For us, having conversations with people is just as interesting as photographing them. We wanted our readers to experience both, so having text was very important.

Rubber Time Journal: A lifestyle magazine about the joy of downtime created by CSM Fashion Communication students
Rubber Time Journal: A lifestyle magazine about the joy of downtime created by CSM Fashion Communication students
Rubber Time Journal: A lifestyle magazine about the joy of downtime created by CSM Fashion Communication students

“With the fast-paced nature of the fashion industry, it can get overwhelming, we think it’s nice to not take things too seriously and it’s okay to laugh!”

Humour is a big part of Rubber Time journal, do you think fashion needs more humour in general?  

With the fast-paced nature of the fashion industry, it can get overwhelming, we think it’s nice to not take things too seriously and it’s okay to laugh! This is why Rubber Time Journal includes fun stories from everyday life, it’s something relatable and joyful.

How do you see the fashion industry (particularly publishing) changing in the future? Do you think it will change at all? 

We can see that a lot of print titles are slowly shifting to online platforms. We think having a balance is important, so we aren’t against the idea of things going digital because there’s a benefit if it’s used in the right way, like making something more accessible. However, we personally prefer physically flipping through pages of a book or a magazine rather than scrolling through images online. We both love the feeling of print and the lasting presence of a printed document.

Where do you see Rubber Time going in the Future?

Rubber Time as a printed journal is the first format we’re producing. Eventually, we want to expand Rubber Time into a creative company where we can showcase our creative ability and research skills. Ideally, we would love to offer photography and art direction services for clients, including brands and artists.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about doing FCP or any students currently on CSM Fashion Communication course? 

Create something because you genuinely care about it, not just because you have to make something to hand in. Be open to feedback but also learn to listen to your gut instinct.

 

Follow Rubber Time Journal on Instagram @rubbertimejournal

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