How Sustainable Fashion Designers Are Responding to Covid-19

How Sustainable Fashion Designers Are Responding to Covid-19

Before Covid-19, eco-conscious designer Deborah Lindquist | https://shopdeborahlindquist.com/ | had the experience of designing for such celebrities as Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Sharon Stone.
Since the crisis hit, she has become one of many fashion designers who changed gears and started making masks | https://www.synzenbe.com/blog/covid-19-couture-10-fashion-brands-that-are-making-face-masks-1001/1001 |. The alternative, of course, would have been to succumb to the shutdown.
For all that making masks has helped her keep the doors open and the lights on, Deborah realizes the industry is still dogged by uncertainty.
“We don’t know how long this shutdown will last, don’t know who will be forced out of business permanently, and [we] wonder if our own restructuring ideas are good ones,” Deborah said.
Working from her North Hollywood home, Deborah has been using leftover fabric from her line of upcycled denim jackets to create face masks to help slow the spread of the disease. She embellishes these masks with appliques, studs, and rhinestones.
Deborah has also created woven masks using pieces of silk prints left over from her dress, skirt, and blouse lines. The designs include leopard, sari, and vintage kimono.
She is even doing a group of masks made from vintage table linens and napkins.
“As an innovative designer, I’ve always figured out ways to use materials on hand,” Deborah says. “Since we need to cover our faces, we may as well look cool.”
Designer Dalia MacPhee anticipated the impact of the coronavirus on America back in January. All she had to do was look at the impact on China’s fashion scene, as manufacturers had to go into lockdown.
Before the outbreak, Dalia’s designs were worn by Mel B, Niecy Nash, Julianne Hough, and Olivia Munn. Responding to the outbreak, Dalia began manufacturing personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks, the intensive-care-unit coveralls and isolation gowns.
“I went from evening gowns to hospital gowns just like that,” Dalia said. “We are also producing designer cloth masks with filters for the public.”
Dalia is also working on an athleisure line, noting that working at home has become the new normal and may well stay that way for the next few months.
Before Covid-19, designer Alisun Franson made jewelry out of upcycled bicycle parts and sold it in the Amiga Wild | https://amigawild.com/ | store she co-owns with fellow indie designer Sadie Gilliam. Since the crisis, she has turned to hand-sewing face masks from a pop-up shop.
“We have hand-sewn over 500 masks in the past few weeks and have provided masks to the nonprofit organization Worthy of Love | https://worthyoflove.net/ |, which helps children living on skid row,” Alisun said.
For Alisun, the imperative is clear: she is helping in the struggle by helping her community to stay protected.
Alisun also believes that the crisis highlights the need for sustainable fashion, which she believes to be the future.
“It’s a lifestyle that people are adopting because they see the importance of preserving our earth,” Alisun says. “There are so many existing materials in the world. Why send them to the landfill when they can be reused and transformed into wearable art?”
Desiree Buchanan, founder of women’s line Poplinen | https://www.poplinen.co/ |, is adjusting to a post-Covid-19 world of reduced demand, shutdowns, and delays.
Like many designers, she has turned to making masks.
“We’re facing issues throughout the supply chain and are doing our best through mask-making,” Desiree says.
Desiree says she is working on using the time to create high-quality content “that’s helpful around topics that align with our inclusivity and sustainability efforts.”
She says that if the order to shelter in place continues in California, she hopes to be able to find ways to work around it and to bring value back to fashion.
“For consumers, I think this will bring them to a place of making conscious purchasing choices — buying clothing that brings value and longevity to their lives,” Desiree says.
For designer Isadora Alvarez of Back Beat Co. | https://backbeat.co/ |, the Covid-19 pandemic is a chance to promote and strengthen her brand.
Because the brick and mortar stores are closed, her only stream of income is online. Accordingly, she is putting time and resources into marketing for her eco-friendly fashion line.
Alvarez actually ran into many hurdles as she worked on her eco-friendly and sustainable line, which she attributes to the industry being old-fashioned and resistant to change for a more sustainable future.
“We’ve had to convince our suppliers to use better fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, etc. There’s also an issue of minimums where we have to make a lot, so there’s a lot of waste. We’ve luckily found partners that are willing to work with us on those terms after years of hard work.”
Faced with the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, sustainable footwear designer Mariah K. Lyons of Astara | https://astaracollective.com/ | says that being flexible and innovative is key.
“We are trying to look at this time as an opportunity for innovation, rather than simply a pause before returning to business as usual,” Mariah says.
The pandemic forced Mariah to cancel production and new launches. Now she is working with very different timelines as she works to adapt her business model and greatly expand her offerings.
Mariah recently cut prices, lowering the costs of her sustainable line of footwear. She notes that they are mostly selling with direct-to-consumer shipping, and she plans to adjust her company’s retail model accordingly.
“Our focus has always been on creating shoes that support the well-being of the body, mind, spirit and planet. Hopefully, this allows for more accessibility.”
This flexibility may well prove to be the most important trait any fashion company can have as the world of fashion works to adapt to Covid-19 | https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-04-22/coronavirus-fashion-industry-eight-indie-los-angeles-designers |. In the face of economic disruption and likely shifts in consumer priorities, those companies that are able to prioritize flexibility and agility will be most likely to succeed even after the outbreak subsides and the economy recovers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *