Protective personal gear to combat the pandemic has become a non-negotiable part of our attire. Why not jazz it up a bit? And if it carries a designer label, putting you among the fashionistas, so much the better!
For a week, a photograph of shop named ‘Covid-19 Essentials’ in Florida, USA, was doing the rounds on social media and many people commented on what they felt was opportunism in the face of global distress.
On the other hand, many others supported the idea of an exclusive store for essential supplies to combat the pandemic. The shop in a mall attracted a good number of footfalls too.
Nearer home, in the much smaller city of Kochi in Kerala, a store was opened recently, dedicated to masks and other safety gear needed during the lockdown.
These stores and the fact that they are being patronised are an indication of the shape of things to come.
Companies are repurposing their production lines to join the fight against Covid-19. Luxury brands like Prada, Luis Vuitton and Gucci have come up with designer masks, for instance.
Madhurima Balsingh, director, Golden Homes Pvt. Ltd., says, “I feel we need to come to terms with the fact that this virus is here to stay and we have to deal with it in the best possible way. The big fashion houses are doing what they do best outfitting us. I disagree that they are making a business out of Covid-19 and cashing in on sentiment. They are helping us deal with the situation in the way they can, just like the medical fraternity is trying to find medicines to cure or contain the virus.”
Both high-end brands and small companies are growing their businesses on the back of the pandemic. Though one may talk about capitalising a catastrophe, such initiatives also have the advantage of spreading awareness.
“When helmets were made compulsory in the country, many companies started producing them. At the end of the day, safety is all that matters. The luxury brands are not forcing anyone to buy their products. They are just giving us the option of buying their goods. You can go for cheaper versions if you wish to,” says Aswanth a safety mask retailer.
Farah Agarwal, interior designer and founder of Chestnut Storeys, feels it makes sense for luxury brands to enter the business of producing pandemic essentials.
“I cannot see anything wrong in it. The situation is alarming and we need to be very cautious, so it is the need of the hour to use these safety gears. And if a luxury brand comes up with a well-designed mask or gown, they are actually promoting the idea that we need to take care of ourselves,” she says.
So, stock up on Covid-19 essentials, stay safe!