The new Normal, blog, social distancing, face mask, fashion, challenge
Photograph by Melvin Sokolsky for Harper’s Bazaar Spring 1963 edition. The New Normal ?

A harsh reality impacted the fashion industry in recent years. As more and more clothes were produced the less and less expensive they became. The success of ready-to-wear revolutionized the way we buy clothes but made fashion, one of the most polluting industries on the planet. The consumption frenzy increased drastically since the 2000s.

Getting to grips with the problem directed the industry toward a more sustainable fashion. Fostering towards greater ecological integrity and social justice as the new priority. Dealing with climate change, slavery and child labor issues, led the apparel industry to explore new directions such as second hand, clothing swaps, slow & fair fashion, vegan, organic cotton, minimalism, local production and recycled materials among other options.

And then came the coronavirus pandemic.

Luxury fashion found itself in a strange spot. Some of the worlds’s top fashion houses and designers were among the first to suspend their own production, repurposing supply lines to create protective equipment like masks, hand sanitizers and medical gowns.

In France, LVMH the luxury goods company that owns brands Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy announced their factories that make perfumes and other cosmetic products will shift production to hand sanitizer. In Italy, The Giorgio Armani Group converted all of its production sites in Italy to produce hospital gowns, as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus.


Nearly two months later, we find ourselves once again facing new issues, new challenges and hopefully searching for new solutions. In a short lapse of time, our lifestyles have changed. The coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives daily. Measures, such as social distancing, have been taken to slow the spread of a virus in communities thus limiting our interactions with society.

The fashion industry along with its designers are and will have to once again rise to the challenge by being creative. With the emphasis on distancing, the designer will need to create practical yet fashionable accessories.

jOE DOUCET creates a sleek face shield

Joe Doucet, is one designer to have risen to the challenge by creating a face shield with integrated sunglass lenses that people would actually want to wear then simply put up with. An essential protective tool against Covid-19 becomes a sleek alternative. The New York based designer’s fashionable designs seek to alleviate the uncomfortable and awkward appearance of typical face shields.

How do we encourage mass adoption of an unwanted necessity ?

asks Joe Doucet, designer

Masks are now recommended to be worn when going out in public, whether for medical necessity or as a fashion statement. Designers, entrepreneurs, influencers sense the opportunity. Brands have begun producing face masks for civilians to wear, leaving the authentic surgical masks for the healthcare professionals and essential workers. 

On Etsy, the number of mask sellers on the site increased by 5 times in the last week of March and the first week of April 2020. Tutorials on how to make your own have exploded on social network.

But then the fabric face mask style has been around for some time. Take Billie Eillish and her Gucci face covering at the recent Grammy’s. The iconic Vogue just recently featured a post « 87 Masks to buy now » offering a large selection of the most stylish masks available online.

So could this be the start of a new era in styling, with the creation of fashion accessories, that are not only functional and stylish but also crucial to saving our lives – all tied into one ?

Strange times indeed.

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