The novel coronavirus has upended the global economy unlike any other and has especially hit the fashion industry hard. While the United Kingdom may have been slower than it’s neighbours in preparing for – and subsequently dealing with – the novel coronavirus, it is now currently in lockdown like most countries around the world. The pandemic has caused a majority of brands to shutter storefronts and work from home, although a significant faction of the industry has redirected it’s activities to the many relief efforts currently being undertaken whether by way of manufacturing personal protective equipment, sanitisers or providing meals and other essentials to doctors, NHS workers and others around the country.
British brand Joules is rallying it’s efforts towards providing masks and hospital gowns as well as donating Joules products to healthcare workers on the frontline. The brand has pledged to donate 50,000 civilian grade masks to organisations ailing in relief efforts including University of Leicester Hospitals Trust and Joules charity partner Hospice UK.
Luxury British brand Ted Baker has introduced the Ted Bazaar – a digital pop-up shop the profits from which will be donated to organisations that are aiding those who are undergoing major challenges as a result of the pandemic. For the first drop of the pop-up (which will include an array of t-shirts, mugs and beanies featuring the rainbow and applause motifs), Ted Baker has partnered with Magic Breakfast – a charity that provides free and healthy breakfasts to school children facing the risk of hunger.
Luxury British label Christopher Kane has stepped in to combat the rising number of people using masks that are actually intended for healthcare workers. The brand is sending out packets containing fabrics from it’s past seasons to communities across the country to help the general public make their own masks at home. Email email@example.com with your full name and postal address to get your pack delivered to you.
Known for it’s uber feminine pieces, Temperley London will be donating 20% of all proceeds generated from its website to the NHS Charities Covid19 Urgent Appeal while heritage brand Hunter Boots will be donating 1,500 pairs of Wellington boots to the London Ambulance Service. Footwear label Sophia Webster will be donating 200 pairs of its FlyBy trainers to NHS workers.
Multinational retailer Marks & Spencer has designed and donated a special range of t-shirts to the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London while over 4000 sets of pyjamas have been donated to the NHS Derbyshire to be used as scrubs. The company is also donating to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal and giving customers the opportunity to donate every time they shop with Marks & Spencer.
There are also plenty of other labels who are using social media to foster a sense of community among the general public during the current times. Occasionwear label Chi Chi London is using its Instagram page for activities like bingo, virtual quizzes, fitness programmes and mindfulness activities.
While there is no denying the uncertainty in the air, the efforts of the fashion industry is noteworthy and will help accelerate the impact of the ongoing relief efforts across the country. The fact that some might dismiss the industry as frivolous or built on a foundation of wanting more at any given time is clearly just one side of the argument; on the other end is a legion of designers, artists and creatives – both big and small – who are contributing towards creating a healthier community around the world while managing to remain dans le style.