Out of Office Features Commonly Used Vernacular from Emails and Office Settings
By BRETT ABRAMS | Intern
After months of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Highlands resident Aysegul Conboy was inspired to create Out of Office, a clothing brand with a satirical spin on the vernacular commonly used in emails and office settings.
As an interior designer, at the start of the pandemic, Conboy was pushed into a routine that consisted of hours behind a screen, either on a Zoom call or responding to emails. For Conboy, time seemed to be marked by “one set of yoga pants to another.”
During a routine of endless Zoom calls and emails, Conboy noticed “all these emails that we exchange with fake endings like ‘best regards’ or ‘friendly reminders’ that are never friendly.” Conboy harnessed the “personal frustrations and problems that we go through every single day, and wanted to reflect it in a more creative way.”
Thus, Out of Office Brand was born.
Conboy’s custom-made clothing brand consists of designs inspired by the common office phrases and email endings that she has seen most often.
“It’s not cartoony or childish looking, but it still has a little fun aspect that people like,” Conboy said.
Some of the more popular items include sweatshirts and T-shirts that simply bear phrases such as “unsubscribed” or “friendly reminder” as the sole design. Despite the minimalist approach and neutral aesthetic of the design, Conboy notices people tend to “giggle when they see it.”
Staying true to the minimalist ideology Conboy sought to convey, Out of Office products feature an element of versatility not common in everyday clothing.
“Most of the items can be worn as business casual clothing,” Conboy said.
Along with business casual, Conboy explained the clothing can be paired with formal attire, such as a blazer, while also matching nicely with casual streetwear.
Although her new brand differs from her professional experience as an interior designer, Conboy still feels a strong connection between the two occupations.
“Being in the design field, something creative is always part of my life,” Conboy said. Both interior and clothing design “carry similar feelings and creativeness, but in different forms.”
Early in the process of establishing her new brand, Conboy used social media to figure out if people relate to her product as much as she does.
“I don’t have much experience with this, but I felt so attached to the idea,” Conboy said.
Despite the lack of experience and uncertainty surrounding the product’s ability to relate to a large audience, Conboy launched an online shop.
“It is a fairly new brand but the reaction I’ve been receiving is just unbelievable,” Conboy said. “The process showed me that I’m not alone … all of us are on our computers now, dealing with emails and endless Zoom calls, so I think people feel really connected to that and share a similar experience as I do.”
Currently, Out of Office products can only be purchased through the brand’s online shop. Once COVID-19 becomes less prevalent in the community, Conboy shared that she would “love to have a little boutique or pop-up––some type of mobile store.”
Even though the virtual platform of the store simplifies the process of shopping, the prospect of opening a physical shop remains desirable, as Conboy would “definitely love to have more opportunities to engage with the local community.”
To Conboy, engagement with the local community is what pushed her to turn her ideas into reality.
“I didn’t have big expectations,” she shared. “For me, it was mostly a form of art that focused on engaging with people—almost like I was craving to engage with people.”
Conboy’s newfound passion for her clothing brand only continues to grow with time—inspiring her to create new designs and include a more diverse selection of products.
“Emotions are not always in text form,” Conboy said. “I’m thinking of introducing more abstract or organic forms of art to describe feelings.”
The experience of creating and operating a clothing brand during such a turbulent time in society has taught Conboy valuable lessons she might not have learned otherwise.
“It’s incredible how much we actually share with people we don’t even know,” Conboy said. “We are stronger with each other.”
For more information, visit outofofficebrand.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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