Masks, scrubs and sanitizer. The fashion world adapts to changing times.
Both Italy and Australia, like the rest of the world, are facing challenging times. But, as it is well known, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that is why many Italian fashion brands, in both the ‘land of the lucky’ and ‘the land of la dolce vita’, have been turning their efforts towards the fight against the coronavirus. Donatella Versace has donated more than $200,000to the intensive care unit of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital. Giorgio Armani has given a total of $1.4m to four Italian hospitals, Marco Bizzarri (chief executive of Gucci) has offered $100,000 to hospitals in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, and fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni brought in more than €4m for a new intensive care ward at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital with her crowd-funding project. There are just some examples of one of the ways in which the Italian fashion field is helping in this very tough time. Bvlgari has been able to develop a hand sanitizer which is manufactured in the Bvlgari’s Lodi Factory and donated to medical facilities. Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of the world leader in luxury products and retailing states that “(We are)aware of the difficult situation we are experiencing, and we believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities”. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Italian fashion industry has been flanking doctors and researchers, by producing protective equipment for hospitals and healthcare workers, but also supporting suppliers, by switching from producing luxury garments to manufacturing face masks, and protecting their workers by calling for volunteers to make masks from home. Among others, Armani and Calzedonia have been making scrubs and lab coats for doctors in hospitals treating Covid19 patients, Bvlgari, Gucci and Prada have been designing and donating face covers. Similarly, Italian luxury designers, high-street brands and fashion stylists in Australia for the last few months have been shifting their focus on turning their production lines from haute couture to face masks, which recently have become essential goods, especially following the recent health directions by the Australian Government Department of Health. For instance, Gliese 504, a business founded by Stella Cella, collaborates with established fashion brand sand repurposes leftover/unwanted fabrics from the fashion industry, saving them from landfill. Stella Cella aims to meet needs arising from the coronavirus crisis, while also helping reduce fashion waste. Italian fashion stylist Giusy Zappala is the mind behind Ateleia, another local brand whose masks fabrics range from rainbows to zebra prints and pink feathers. While still using social media to showcase her skills when it comes to garments and make-up color palettes, Giusy pulled out her sewing machine to make cute reusable fabric masks. Fasaneh is another Melbourne-based brand (with an Italian heart, founded by the pugliese Giuseppe Fasanella), whose pattern range from classic beige plaid patterns to customized masks, to fit all customers’ needs. All these Italian-Australian based designers prove two things: the first one is that fashions can emerge from every crisis, and the second is that, quoting designer Paul Andrew, Women's Creative Director at Salvatore Ferragamo “Italy is famous for La Dolce Vita, but the manner in which the Italians are enduring these hardest of times is very inspiring. There is so much pain, but there is also so much purpose”.