How the fashion world is championing creativity and community
Here, we present the labels innovating and creating for the greater good
As the creative industries come to terms with today’s challenging times, a host of brands are bolstering their community and creative spirit, bringing both material and spiritual aid to those in need around the world.
The British heritage label has announced a range of impressive measures to combat the deepening Covid-19 crisis in the UK. The label has committed to fast-tracking the delivery of over 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS and is also mobilising its trench coat factory in Castleford, Yorkshire, to create non-surgical gowns and masks for hospital patients. What’s more, Burberry is also funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford that is on course to begin human trials next month and is donating to charities including FareShare and The Felix Project, that are committed to tackling prescient food shortages across the UK.
Madrid-based brand Loewe is utilising its Instagram account to celebrate the soothing power of craft. Dedicated to artisanal time-honed expression, the ‘Loewe En Casa’ series kicks off today with a live willow weaving demonstation by Galician Idoia Cuesta, who created astonishing basket designs for the brand at last year’s Salone del Mobile, inspired by the structure of birds nests. In need of some weekend watching? Join live tomorrow to take in a tour of Italian jeweller and Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2019 finalist Giovanni Corvaja’s studio, and on Sunday, learn the art of Ikebana flower arranging from Watari Toru.
The German suiting expert is mobilising its global headquarters in Metzingen, to manufacture 180,000 non surgical face masks. Created from a cotton-blend material, these can be washed and reused 50 times, and will be donated to public facilities, and used in nursing homes and in fire and police departments.
The Armani Group
Back in February, Mr Armani was one of the first to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, presenting Giorgio Armani’s A/W 2020 runway show at Milan Fashion Week behind closed doors at its HQ, without a live audience. Following significant donations to hospitals across Italy and the country’s National Civil Protection Department, now the Armani Group has announced that all of its production plants have been mobilised to manufacture single use medical overalls for healthcare workers.
The Italian label’s newly launched ‘Bottega Residency’ platform aims to provide digital comfort and distraction during self-isolation. Each week, the #bottegaresidency will be occupied by a different collaborator or muse, across a variety of platforms, from Apple Music to Spotify, Weibo to Youtube. Expect inspirational, immersive experiences to include live music evenings, culinary how-to’s from rising star-chefs and a Sunday film night with an industry insider. Kicking off the residency this week is creative director (and Wallpaper* Design Awards 2020 judge) Daniel Lee himself.
#Makeyourownmask announced Coperni’s Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer on Instagram. ‘It’s very easy!’ they reassured followers, ‘All you need is a few pieces of fabric, a pair of scissors, thread, a needle and / or a sewing machine.’ In a bid to ensure that FFP2 100 per cent protective masks are distributed to medical professionals and those most in need, Coperni have released a downloadable mask pattern – providing non-medical protection for when dashing for essentials – with an accompanying ‘How to’ Instagram video tutorial. ‘We count on you,’ their letter continued on Instagram. ‘Let’s be creative! Save lives!’
The luxury giant is using its perfume production facilities to create hydroalcoholic gel for French hospitals. Chief executive Bernard Arnault has instructed LVMH’s production facilities oustide Orléans to fill plastic ‘CD’ branded Dior cosmetic bottles with the anti-bacterial liquid, pledging to provide for the medical institution until further notice. ‘The group and its Maisons are extremely proud and humble to do their part in the fight against COVID-19 and to help those whose mission it is to protect and care for others,’ LVMH announced in an Instagram post last week.
Following a request for medical supplies in the Tuscan region of Italy, Prada has put its factory in Montone, Perugia into practical, protective use. Last week, it started producing 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks which will be allocated to healthcare workers. Its production plan incorporates daily deliveries, which will be competed by 6 April. In the label’s commitment to the crisis, Prada co-CEOs Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada and chairman Carlo Mazzi have also donated two new intensive care units to Milan’s three biggest hospitals.
The avant-garde Italian label has opened its Instagram live function to its global creative community, enlisting artists to host a daily performance through its social media channel. So far we’ve seen sound artist Paolo Tocci – who creates Sunnei’s show soundtracks – deliver a movement-inducing live DJ set, Milan’s Insieme restaurant serving up chickpea hummus and kale chips to an Instagram audience and quirky ceramicist Onka Allmayer-Beck – who creates colourful, knobbly creations – presenting a tour of her Vienna studio.
Begg & Co
If the Scottish weavers’ blankets and scarves weren’t enough to snuggle into during self-isolation, Begg & Co has also launched the digital platform ‘Comfort Blanket’, a soothing space aimed at elevating self-care. Expect to find an online book club, tips on meditation, working from home and healthy living, recipes and a digital gratitude journal. We suggest you snuggle up and logon.
The Italian label has kickstarted a host of initiatives. Firstly, it is committed to producing and donating 100,000 TNT anti-bacterial masks, 3,000 FPP1 and 50,000 bottles of anti bacterial gel to healthcare units across Tuscany. Secondoly, it is offering up some mental respite during self-isolation, with ‘Trivia’ a digital project across its social media channels dedicated to the illuminating history of the label. The brand’s founder was remarkably creative during hardship - during WW2 he swapped scarce materials for tree bark, raffia and cellophane used in chocolate wrappers. Tune in to ‘Trivia’ each Wednesday and Saturday until April 4 for quizzes and anecdotes. You might just find some fodder for your next online Zoom quiz night.
The Roman jeweller has, in collaboration with its fragrances partner ICR (Industrie Cosmetiche Riunite, Lodi), outlined its committment to producing hydroalcoholic gel. Bulgari will be manufacturing hundreds of thousands of 75ml recycled bottles of hand sanitiser in its Lodi factory over the next two months, which will be distributed throughout medical facilities in Italy. ’We believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities,’ says Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
‘It was a natural step for me to start thinking about what I could do using my skills as a fashion designer,’ says London-based J JS Lee who – after making an essential face mask for herself due to an underlying health condition – has begun producing them for those in need. Hackney Mask incorporates generously donated deadstock fabrics, creating shells from merino wool, which can be purchased alongside antibacterial filters. These are being donated to those most in need and can also be purchased through the initiative’s online shop. §