Monthly Fashion Update: Fashion Made for COVID-19

With the fashion industry getting hit hard, retail depleting as we know it, and brand collaborations scraping the bottom of the barrel, figuring the state of the fashion industry is far less than depressing.

However, with this pandemic, we must remember that some of the worst of times have brought forward the most intuitive and innovative designs that have designed our century. While maybe Fecal Matter’s skin gloves, designed for social distancing, perhaps an honorable nod to the current status of the world, other designers are using this opportunity to bring forth some of the most original designs we have seen in a while. More importantly, for the first time, we are seeing brands and competitors come together, finally making the term “global fashion” more than just a catch-all, and more of an active noun, breathing and fighting the COVID-19 epidemic actively and commendably. \

It is not to say that fashion foes have become friends, but rather, a concentrated effort for the entire fashion community has come about, bringing a whole new hope for tackling future global challenges. (Fashion gods if you are listening, my fingers are crossed for saving the environment next) But, in any case, here are some of the amazing, uplifting changes being made by brands and retailers, determined to help slow the spread.

  1. In Prague, self-isolating fashion students from Umprum Academy of Art, Architecture and Design Instagrammed themselves sewing masks, heeding a call from the Czech Republic local authorities for “simple sewn masks for seniors, volunteers or shop workers — so we got involved.” Czech fashion designer, Alice Klouzková, also released ‘how-to’ videos,” teaching  the whole country to sew!

  2. The MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp released an open-source design and making tutorial, in conjunction with the Belgian Ministry of Public Health.

  3.  Stacey Bendet, of Alice + Olivia, released a statement that she has factories making masks and gowns. 

  4. Giorgio Armani pledged €1.25m to Milanese hospitals and to Protezione Civile, Italy’s civil defense.

  5. Donatella Versace and her daughter Allegra Versace Beck donated €200K to the ICU at San Raffaele hospital, saying: “This is when we, as a society, need to stand together and care for one another.”

  6. Remo Ruffini of Moncler committed a further €10m to assist the emergency construction of a hospital in the former Fiera Milano area — where the international fashion audience used to flock to shows in the 1980s and 1990s.

  7. LVMH, L'Oréal and Coty have swiftly repurposed factories to produce hand sanitizer for medical use. 

  8. Gucci is awaiting medical authority go-ahead to make hospital masks and overalls in its Italian factories. 

  9. Parent company, Kering — which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen — has donated $2m to coronavirus medical research. 

  10. In Sweden, H&M, and Inditex — the owner of Zara in Spain — are stepping up to offer the EU mass manufacture of protective masks, gowns, gloves, goggles and caps to meet the emergency.