This week’s headlines were once again saturated with COVID-19 updates—notably, both Boris Johnson and Prince Charles tested positive for the virus; meanwhile Tokyo made the tough decision to postpone this year’s Olympics to 2021. With another whirlwind of a news week, INDIE has rounded up six things you might have missed in fashion this week.

PFW was put on pause


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How many more casualties does fashion have to witness? Men’s Fashion Weeks were relatively unscathed by COVID-19 back in January—but they are feeling the heat this season. Paris Men’s Fashion Week and Haute Couture shows, in June and July respectively, will be cancelled. The Board of Directors of the Fédération de la haute couture et de la Mode announced they are working on a digital alternative, stating that, “we are aware that great efforts will be made in order to have the new collections ready by June to start an innovative selling campaign.” Looks like many fashion shows and Fashion Weeks altogether will be following in the footsteps of Armani in Milan, Shanghai Fashion Week, and Tokyo Fashion Week—2020 may be the year of Fashion Week livestreams.

Wintour and Ford supported the struggle


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Fashion industry leaders Anna Wintour and Tom Ford have come together to repurpose the annual CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund—which, under normal circumstances, provides emerging fashion designers with hefty monetary support and invaluable mentoring. Previous winners of the fund include names like Telfar, Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, and Christopher John Rogers. While most industries globally are taking a hit from coronavirus, fashion has seen an especially dire couple of months with Fashion Weeks being cancelled and stocks plunging. Thanks to Wintour and Ford, the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund will this year be appropriated to create ‘A Common Thread’, a project which aims to provide relief to all industry workers struggling to make a living during COVID-19, “whose businesses and livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic and its economic impact.” This year, the adapted fund is not just aimed toward designers; but also seamstresses, pattern makers, and manufacturers. Ralph Lauren has since stepped up and offered his support for the cause, donating $1 million to the fund.

Face masks met high fashion


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Following the initiative from the likes of LVMH, Kering and L’Oréal; Prada is the latest high fashion house to appropriate their production lines to aid the shortage of resources for healthcare professionals. The Italian label began the production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks, which is to be delivered to regions across Italy by April 6th. Meanwhile, independent designers and general empathisers have begun tutorials on how to create your own mask to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 (yes, there is actually some proof that they help)—such as Yamuna Forzani, who posted a video to Instagram teaching followers how to make a mask at home out of cotton, a less visually-sterile alternative to medical masks. Stay safe and cute.

Print mags were pressed


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Print publications all over the world are grappling with the effects of coronavirus on their upcoming issues and beyond—with many major bi-annual mags having signed off on content for print weeks ago, before the pandemic ultimately changed the way readers would think and feel by the time they hit shelves—many scrambled to update content to avoid alienating crisis-stricken readers in a month. “This virus and this situation forced us to change,” said Vanity Fair Italia’s Editor-in-Chief Simone Marchetti. “We can’t put a star on the cover anymore, at this moment.” The fashion magazine has since responded to the crisis in Italy with its latest issues; most recently “#IamMilano,” featuring essays by 64 prominent people in Milan, including Miuccia Prada, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Its previous issue, #IosonoMilano, was dedicated to the city and inspirational stories from its inhabitants, and was released for free online. Other publications are also looking for new ways to stay afloat as the world shifts around them. New, socially responsible approaches to advertising content had to be considered, as fashion ads plunged with retail stores still closing globally; as well as a shift toward utilising freelance artists for visual content in place of photoshoots. Although approaches to publishing had to shift drastically, Marchetti emphasises this does not mean the audience is gone, but their priorities are different. “People are still buying magazines,” he said. “They want information now more than ever.”

Bottega Veneta went virtual


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During an eerie time of mass global boredom, Bottega Veneta has taken the initiative to create the ‘Bottega Residency’, a weekly virtual residency described as a “theatre of joyous distraction.” Each Monday, the audience meets the artist they will be following for the rest of the week, going on to learn about their favourite artwork on Tuesday, with Wednesday dedicated to their favourite director. Each day is dedicated to a different area of creativity. The online series aims to feed creative inspiration during this unique period of isolation. Creative director Daniel Lee explained that “creativity and strength lie at the heart of Bottega Veneta. In this highly distressing time, we feel a responsibility to celebrate those values and ignite a sense of joy and hope in our community and beyond.” The virtual residency will be available to experience on Instagram, Youtube, Weibo, Line, Kakao, Spotify, Apple Music, as well as on the Bottega website.

Fashion challenged isolation


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As much of the world remains in isolation, people are increasingly turning to apps, learning tools, virtual galleries, Netflix, Tik Tok… pretty much anything to cure their loneliness and/or boredom. The fashion world has rejoiced, coming together online in many forms—whether it’s posting your WFH outfits, or designing your own high fashion pieces from old socks. Billy Porter has recently jumped on board to encourage quarantine loners to harness their creativity with a weekly fashion challenge, posting it to Insta with the caption, “Using items found ONLY in your house, give me your best recreation of my 2019 @themetgalaofficial lewk and post a photo or video on your Instagram (grid or story)”. If you remember Porter’s Met Gala ‘Camp’ look (how could you not?), then that ought to keep us busy for a decade or two. The star was draped in gold, set with wings, and even had a Cleopatra-style entrance complete with six men carrying him—a detail we have to ditch for isolation’s sake. Similarly, Amsterdam-based creative director Indiana Roma Voss has created a daily fashion challenge on her Insta stories, asking followers to create and submit outfits based on themes like office wear, or double denim à la Britney and JT at the 2014 VMAs.

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