NEW YORK – Coronavirus-triggered lockdowns have exacted a particularly hefty financial toll on the global fashion industry, prompting brands such as Burberry, Lacoste, Adidas and Nike to reorganize their work flows to produce face masks and other personal protective equipment.
In the United States, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in April that people wear a cloth face covering in settings such as grocery stores and pharmacies where it may be more difficult to maintain social distancing, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) called on companies to help create non-medical masks for sale or donation to the general public.
“Face masks are a quick and inexpensive product to produce since they require little material and simple assembly. Therefore I think many retailers will add them to their product line,” said Sarah Mullins, the accessories design chair at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
“But I don’t think the sales of face masks will make up for the loss retailers are suffering during the pandemic.”
One of the first fashion labels to respond to CFDA’s call was New York-based, sustainability-minded Collina Strada, which is offering instruction via its online store for sewing homemade masks and sending free face masks as a gift with every order until supplies run out.
“Masks are necessary for everyone right now. Making fashion masks during this time is a way to make people feel excited and proud of the masks they are wearing. Why not add a little color and cheer into people’s lives during this dark time?” that brand’s creative designer, Hillary Seymour, told EFE.
Looking ahead to a return to relative normalcy, Mullins said the fashion industry will need to make changes to the status quo.
“I think the future of fashion will succeed by capitalizing on the self-examination that is taking place while our lives and many businesses are on hold. If the industry returns to the same processes and procedures post-pandemic, we will have learned nothing,” Mullins said.
“Adjustments to the calendar of fashion shows, production methods and quantities need to be made. We need to be driven by values and not only profit.”
The US is the global epicenter of the coronavirus with nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases and almost 90,000 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.