We are beginning to see signs of what the new normal might look like. And much of that view will be from eyes peering over the bridge of a face mask. Fortunately for us, apparel icons like Burberry and Prada have already shifted production to deliver millions of masks to first responders. Given their DNA, we expect a new season of fashionable masks to hit the runways in fall.
Beyond the aesthetics, we also expect to see new innovations in mask design that will lead to more sustainable designs that both look good and are better for the planet. One company leading the charge on that front is Chargeurs PPC, the worlds largest apparel interlinings company.
The push for more sustainable materials is nothing new for their managing director, Angela Chan. She is the founder for the Sustainable 50 initiative, an effort to steer the fashion industry towards 50 innovative materials that are good for the planet.
“We had knowledge of the types of filtration materials needed and we suspected early on in January that this could become a pandemic that would spread quickly,” she said. “We anticipated a shortage of facemasks and knew that in our global and interconnected community this could only get worse.”
Part of addressing this shortage was the effort to make the masks reusable which makes them more sustainable by helping reduce future demand and create less waste. As Chan says, “It is important to remember the three Ps – planet, people and profit.”
On the first weekend of April, this global initiative packed and shipped millions of masks to Europe and USA. Orders are on route to other countries now.
She said, “We’re part of a global company with 40 offices around the world and multiple partners in our supply chain: as a group, we felt that this was the right thing to do.”
She hopes this current crisis will reset the fashion industry and, that collectively, help it realize what’s important – personally and professionally. “What’s happening today is a wake up call,” said Chan. “It makes you think about what we’re doing, producing and selling and if we are driving the industry with a purpose that is more fulfilling and sustainable. It is not just about managing and growing a business but about our contribution to society, whether that’s providing PPEs or producing materials that are more sustainable. Making it better for the planet and, more importantly, better for the people.”
Initiatives such as this demonstrate just how the fashion industry is putting its best foot forward. At a time when governments around the world over are struggling to source enough PPE, the technological and logistical know-how of Chargeurs and its partners, are demonstrating fashion’s greatest collaboration.