The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Jessica Washington
  • Images — Julie Adams

As one of the leading forces of menswear in Australia, Patrick Johnson knows how to appreciate the finer things in life. The 2015 GQ Menswear Designer of the Year says that relaxation is part of his success – and without downtime, it’s easy to make bad decisions. Johnson spoke to DTA about meditation and how he loves to unwind.

Patrick Johnson, tailor.

Talk us through a typical day.
It varies a bit depending on what is going on. I move around a bit but I have a loose routine that is mainly focused on spending lots of time with my wife, a bit of work and doing what ever it is I need to do to keep me balanced. Wake up early, meditate, light exercise, eat well etc. Work is always there, which I enjoy, and for me that is the danger. I can enjoy that too much. So balance is the key and remembering how important it is.

How important is downtime to you? 
Very. It is staying balanced and being present that keeps me happy.

What do you do to unwind?
A combination, aspects of work help me to unwind, long walks, reading, travel, cooking, lots of things. But if I don’t meditate then none of these things help me unwind because I am not balanced, and worry about inconsequential things.

Where are you when having downtime?
I love the Ayurvedic wellness centre in Bondi Junction. Incredible massages. One Hot Yoga in the cross is fantastic, and Happy Melon in Melbourne. And apart from that, the beach or harbour. I spend lots of time in the water. My favourite is still Bondi.

You have spent the last year or so living in New York, was Downtime different there to how it is back at home?
There is not so much beach time, and it is a little more work to get space but the MET and Central Park are fantastic for this.

Are there consequences for you in not getting enough downtime? 
You’re not happy. You make bad decisions. You’re not that much fun.

Where is your best vacation spot for Downtime? 
So many good ones, it depends on what you are after. My wife and I like Ponza, which is off the coast of Rome. Closer to home I love getting back to South Australia, my family have a property on the coast near Cape Jervis. It is spectacular. I love it.

What are you reading right now? 
White by Kenya Hara.

Tell us what’s on your downtime playlist
I was playing table tennis with a mate yesterday, listening to Kendrick Lamar’s new album. He is so talented and beyond that he is unique.

What’s your favourite movie of all time? 
Big question. Movies are very mood dependent. But currently I would say Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York.

Tell us about your ideal Sunday. 
No plans is best. A big walk or an interesting drive. Long lunch with friends, a late movie, and then dinner for two at home. I find it hard staying still.

Who is your downtime partner in crime?
My wife – always.