The Fashion Industry and PPE for Covid-19
We have been looking at ways Covid-19 has been affecting the fashion Industry and PPE (personal protective equipment); specifically masks, is the biggest arena for growth we’re seeing, both in terms of sales and giving back. So we decided to focus on this topic this week since there’s so much going on and changes are happening day-by-day.
Covid-19: The Fashion Industry and PPE
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surgical masks are loose fitting, typically disposable and protect the wearer from large-particle droplets or splashes that can contain viruses. However they don’t block or filter the tiny particles that can be transmitted through coughs or sneezes like N95 respirators. These are the ones recommended for health care workers. While the fashion industry has stepped up production for PPE, designers aren’t making N95 equivalents. But New York City based designer Naeem Khan was one of the first to design a mask that contains a pocket to insert a disposable filter, for an extra layer of protection. Now others are doing the same.
New guidelines from the CDC came out this month advising EVERYONE to wear masks where social distancing can be difficult. These are places like grocery stores and pharmacies. However, they recommend fabric masks in order to save the other medical masks for health care workers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order this week, stating that all New Yorkers will be required to wear a mask and also extended the shutdown through May 15th. Other cities are also beginning to require masks and while Wuhan has opened up again, we’re still seeing citizens there wearing masks.
Your Next Steps
DIY mask tutorials exploded all over YouTube and social media weeks ago, with Etsy becoming the leading retailer for masks. Vogue even gave a couple of shops their seal of approval in the same article. The streetwear face mask market is booming and we’re seeing smaller designers and businesses starting to manufacture their own as well. And with China opening up again, manufacturers will be ready to mass produce for you again. Some of our clients such as, Anna Rewick and Boomlala have also gotten into the business of masks and are helping supply masks to those who want or need them. Another one of our client’s Inphorm, is also selling masks which do have a 5 layer filter AND have gone through rigorous testing. So if you want to look stylish and have something as close to the N95 as you can get order one of these, or both! (use code FFCD to get $1.50 off each Inphorm mask).
If you’re just starting out and trying to build your line, you can use leftover fabric from your most recent collection or samples from an upcoming line to make masks and promote your brand and aesthetic in the process. Some fabrics are better than others protection-wise so scour your shelves and bins for material you’ve had lying around for ages. Just make sure to remind your customers that they don’t offer complete protection and to continue practicing social distancing.
Helping Health Care Workers
Here in New York, the city has put out a call looking for suppliers, distributors and manufacturers to partner with. And Swatch On has done a global call out for designers and is selling fabric specifically for masks and medical uniforms. Others who are short on funding for their masks are turning to Crowdfunding. A client of mine has set up this Indiegogo campaign to help fund her campaign for 10,000 masks in L.A. My church CityLight NYC, also purchased 30,000 masks and donated them to NYC hospitals. However, we’re still trying to raise money to pay for them. There’s also a small luxury loungewear store, also in L.A. that is pivoting to masks and set up a GoFundMe to pay for them. If you’re in need of a manufacturer to make your masks, email us at [email protected] so we can connect you.
Whether you’re making PPE for health care workers or masks for retail, consider making batches for people in your community, like grocery and pharmacy workers, delivery people, police officers, firemen and women, EMT, postal workers, the elderly and the homeless. Keep some in your bag and hand them out to people in need the next time you’re out grabbing groceries or running other essential errands. You’ll be helping stop the spread of the coronavirus and styling your neighborhood in your brand at the same time. A double win.
Have you joined in the mask-making trend? If so, leave your website below so everyone can shop your masks. And stay tuned for our next post! In the meantime, stay safe and healthy and join our Fearless Fashionpreneur Facebook Group and subscribe below!
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