As everyone can probably tell by now, this global pandemic is going to change the way we act, live, work, shop, socialize and interact for not just the near future, but for months and possibly years to come. The economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus and the necessary steps we’re all taking to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus are nothing like we’ve ever seen, with some economists saying it is already worse than the Great Recession of 2008, the fallout of which we are still dealing with in many ways more than a decade later.
Firstly, for anyone reading, we would encourage you to stay home where possible and listen to your local health officials’ advice and instruction. You can carry the virus and now show symptoms, potentially putting those you come into contact with in danger. The risk is just not worth it.
I would hope that one of the lessons we have learned from the 2008 global financial collapse is not just what led up to it, but what happened after. The biggest businesses and wealthiest individuals did alright. They had enough capital and resources to weather the storm, and once we came out the other side they continued to suck up wealth and market share. The bailouts that many of the largest companies received did nothing to help those who lost their jobs, they padded the benefits and bonuses of the C-Suite executives and propped up the market that did not help the people who were most impacted. We can only hope that the governments around the world take a different approach this time. At this moment, we have no idea how long the current state of affairs will last, but what we do know are the devastating effects the pandemic is having on small businesses and creators.
All of the designers we work with are making their difference with little to no help beyond the amazing customers who #daretowear their creations. There has been a lot of mention of a shift to more online shopping. Sounds great for us, until we dig a little deeper. We tend to go with what we know when times are tough, having less of an appetite for trying something new. Many of our customers work in the creative, leisure and hospitality related industries, the sectors of our economy worst hit so far.
I know shopping for a new outfit in a time like this feels frivolous, inappropriate, maybe somewhat dirty. What I would ask you to keep in mind, however, is that when you buy a new piece from a small creator, they can then in turn buy their groceries. I also know that so many people are going to be struggling to make ends meet in the next few months and beyond. Governments around the world are offering various levels of support, so please, look into what they’re putting out there and see how it can help you. If you are in a position to help, now is the time to think about what you can do.
If we have to find a silver lining it would be that our planet is starting to heal. Satellite images are showing that the pollution around the world is dissipating. Waters are clearer, the air is cleaner and wildlife is returning to areas once overrun by humans. Perhaps we can take this time to see the evidence and consider how our actions have impacted our environment. When everything returns to whatever the new normal will become, what will be our priorities? Will spending time isolated from our friends and families help us to realise how important those relationships are? I hope so. Will we see how our reduction in consumption has literally given the Earth time to breath, thus changing our shopping habits? Considering that is one of our core tenets, I hope so.
Every industry is in an unprecedented and precarious situation right now. If you love to travel, contact an independent travel agent and plan your next holiday, it gives you something to look forward to. If the theatre is more your thing, consider booking a show in the future or donating to small, local theatre charities. Restaurants in most areas will offer take-out, so if you’re hungry, think about that mom and pop that you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t got around to it yet, now’s the time. Independent corner shops are still stocked, so maybe skip the supermarket when you need to grab something.
In times like this, there is no shame in being the one in need of help. Charities, non-governmental organisations, private businesses and local governments are all formulating or announcing plans to support those in need.
I started this business to support independent designers who are doing the right thing for our industry. They and we are only able to survive because of your willingness to take a chance with us, and there is no sufficient way to show the level of our gratitude. This is a setback for all of us, devastatingly so for many. We will come out of this one the other end, whenever that may be, but in the meantime, we will continue to offer whatever support we can to both you, our customers, and our creators.
Our designers will be taking this time to craft your orders and create new lines, channelling all of their energies into their creativity. Thank you again for helping us get this far, this is only just the beginning. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane.