The Armour To Survive

“It’s our people who make us what we are.” In the face of this dilemma, it is heartening to know that designers across the country are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of their workers. The coronavirus pandemic has uprooted each one’s life and economically affected all industries, including Fashion. With flagships shut and production halted designers are experiencing a financial nightmare. In this moment of global crisis, many of them are stepping up to utilize their design resources to help the less fortunate. One such initiative is ‘Masks For Humanity’ — a collaboration between the BMC and designers Karan Berry and Leon Vaz of ‘Karleo’ to design and produce non-surgical masks primarily for BMC sweepers, garbage collectors, and others who are on the frontline daily.

“With the COVID-19 global pandemic putting a strain on resources, Karleo wanted to do something to help in his way. Fashion designers decided to help by utilizing their team’s skills to create masks—the most essential accessory these days. They hope this encourages others also to help in whatever way they can. The nature of this collaboration was to seek mandatory permissions [will defeat the purpose otherwise] and guidelines from the Government authorities and then utilize those to create non-surgical masks and donate the same to them until any further requirements.

They are in the middle of completing the first batch of 5,000 masks to be delivered to the BMC as soon as possible and will continue to do so for them as per their requirements. Once designers and team will complete the BMC requirements they shall be fulfilling the requirements of other organizations like NGOs and churches that have started approaching them to be a part of this initiative. They said they have been getting a very warm response from well-wishers and partners like Saroj Fabrics, Mumbai who have graciously volunteered to provide them with fabrics for this cause.

Along with fabrics from their design studios, they should be okay for now to create the first batch of nonsurgical masks for the BMC but it seems they would be requiring much more as it’s becoming a norm in all countries to prevent the virus if you are asymptomatic. Also helps to save and reduce the pressure on surgical masks for the medical professionals of our country. Besides this, their design teams are already working on prototypes of gloves and suits. So, they are more than welcome to receive aid in the form of fabrics and any work-from-home groups at this point.

How does this process work? They have systematically chosen a team of five members from Karleo who live in different parts of Mumbai. Each team member is dealing with a cluster of work-from-home ladies with a carefully planned system of pick-and-drop without physical contact with anyone. After that, they collect them all at one home for sanitizing, ironing, and packing to distribute. Setup four- five clusters, each comprising of ten persons, mostly work-from-home ladies, and are looking to keep expanding depending on the needs of the government. Paying workers fair wages so they may meet their daily needs, and most importantly, taking care of their unemployment.


Designer Suket Dhir is making a heartfelt effort to feed people who are hungry and helpless since the pandemic broke out.
Sewa Bharti food packing center on his social media, where he explains, ”They pack 2 kg rice, 2 kg dal, 10 kg atta, 1 kg sugar, tea, milk powder, cooking oil and spices into each box, which costs them INR 1,100 wholesale. Each box should feed a family of six people for a week. To organize things, they put ingredients for a hundred boxes on shelves at one end of the hall and the team replenishes it once it is packaged. Their production capacity is a thousand boxes a day, but once they get used to the mechanism, shall be able to turn out 2,000 boxes. The packaging team wears masks and gloves and maintains social distancing. Once packaged, the distribution team loads boxes in trucks and distributes them to the needed locations”

In Bengaluru, textile brand Angadi thought of making masks on a larger scale. The company’s director, K Radharaman, reached out to Karnataka MPs last week and offered to stitch as many as are required in the coming days at no cost. “While these aren’t surgical or N95 masks, documented research shows that regular fabric masks have a 79% efficacy, and are meant for non-medical personnel. This will allow the right masks to reach the right people.

Trident Group – They continue to provide their support and find solutions that can help bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. As a crucial step towards ensuring public health and hygiene, they donated portable hand wash basins to the administration of Barnala. With one leg pedal to dispense soap and the other to dispense water, this ensures that the public wash their hands without touching the soap. Another initiative as medical professionals and soldiers are risking their lives to save our every moment. The Trident Group are there to support them with arms and protective gear as they lead from the front. They have handed over Tri-Safe PPE kits engineered in-house to the team of physicians at District Hospital Mohali. These kits have been consciously produced in correspondence with the finest safety standards for our warriors.

In collaboration, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue launched A Common Thread, a fund to help vulnerable designers and their teams weather the sudden shutdown.

Joseph Altuzarra: There is a realization that we have too much product. “Something’s are antiquated and out of date. We need more creativity, things that make us feel optimistic. What are going to bring people back into stores are things that are emotional and exciting. We should be brave. We should break the rules.”

Pierpaolo Piccoli: July’s couture shows unfold in new ways. They will have to negotiate social distancing-with the traditional buzzy backstage transformed into the absolute opposite. Shows may be staged on Instagram, Zoom, TikTok, and YouTube and WeChat-and with different narrative rhythms that grow from being modeled in isolation.

“This too shall pass! Things will take time but we will be back with the same rigor”

Sahil Mittal
INIFD Ludhiana

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