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How the local fashion and beauty industry helps during this time of crisis

By JOHN LEGASPI

As the great Gabrielle Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has something to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” That, with the emphasis on the last line, is apparent now in the industry. Fashion often predicts or mirrors reality. With the global spread of COVID-19, the industry’s activity is put to a halt. Runway presentations are canceled, showrooms are left with no buyers, and retail stores are closing their doors to stop the spread of the virus.

Pedestrians wearing protective face masks cross a street outside a shopping mall amid new cases of coronavirus, in Manila, Philippines, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Pedestrians wearing protective face masks cross a street outside a shopping mall amid new cases of coronavirus, in Manila, Philippines, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Now, we are left with face masks and hand sanitizers as the must-haves-and-wears of the season. Crazy to think that months before, the international runways of Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, and Maison Margiela displayed an array of bedazzling and quirky masks, making these runways, as The New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman said, a “symbol of our time.”

As the enhanced community quarantine required many retail establishments to close, local fashion and beauty brands are stepping in to aid Filipinos in need, proving that clothes may not save the world, but their support can make a whole lot of difference.

Fashion and beauty brands all over the world are doing their part in helping the community fight the virus. As seen in perfume factories repurposed to hand sanitizer manufacturing, and big players donating to hospitals and volunteer groups, the trend seems to be far from following the prime color of the season, or enjoying the latest item in your closet. The trend now is to care for the lives behind the design, and the people who in the future will wear it.

The same trend goes in the Philippines. As the enhanced community quarantine required many retail establishments to close, local fashion and beauty brands are stepping in to aid Filipinos in need, proving that clothes may not save the world, but their support can make a whole lot of difference.

HONORING THE FRONTLINERS

The jobs and responsibilities of healthcare workers have never been more important, from the ones on top of caring for ill patients to the people maintaining peace and order.

A brand known for its “love local” initiative, Bench Corporation sent a token of appreciation to our modern heroes by distributing meals to health workers at St. Luke’s BGC, Makati Medical Center, and Bacoor District Hospital.

A big player in the industry, SM Supermalls, through its SM Foundation, gave a cash donation and personal protection equipment to the Philippine General Hospital.

Even before the rise of the pandemic, retail e-commerce platform Lazada has been supplying protective equipment to frontline workers. Now, it is on a mission to send kits to public hospitals and local government units, collaborating with the Philippine Red Cross to encourage and enable shoppers to donate through their online platform.

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Photo from Bench

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Photo from Lazada

DONATING WHAT THEY CAN

This is a time when the whole country is being tested. Local designers are thinking of ways to help to the best of their abilities. Designers like Bo Parcon and Marvin Garcia created face masks and gave them away for free. Though these masks are far from the protective ones suggested by the Department of Health, the designers aim to support health workers and people in need in light of the face mask shortage. Marvin donated his stylish masks to health workers and traffic enforcers, while Bo, together with other Ilonggo designers, donated their masks to frontliners at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.

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Photo from Bo Parcon

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Photo from Marvin Garcia

SUPPORTING ITS BACKBONE

Store closures brought challenges not just to entrepreneurs but to their teams and employees as well. In light of the crisis happening in the country, local brand Zarah Juan is giving out financial support to its employees. Beauty brand Ever Bilena (EB) is doing the same thing. “It’s definitely difficult times,” says Denice Sy-Munez, chief of sales and marketing at EB. “The most we can do is to help our staff, especially those who live pay check to pay check.” Industry workers such as mall employees are also in the face of hard challenges during this time. With that, the Ayala group has decided to adopt a COVID-19 emergency response package of P2.4 billion consisting of wages, bonuses, and leaves for the company’s workforce, including retail workers as stated in the letter of Fernando and Jaime Zobel de Ayala.

90091248_1373898799459664_4682039627588576579_nPhoto from Zarah Juan

INFLUENCE TO SPREAD INFORMATION

Far from their roles, fashion and beauty brands are using their social media influence to spread words about sanitization and what to do during enhanced community quarantine. Women’s wear brands Kamiseta and Plains and Prints, and cosmetics Sunnies Face, sent out information about social distancing and how to send help to hospitals. Other brands such as Memo and Penshoppe saluted the modern heroes through content reminding everyone about their noble deeds.

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Source: Manila Bulletin

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