Fashion & More with Faith Senam … How African fashion & beauty brands are contributing to the fight against COVID-19

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Many businesses have been affected as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. Nonetheless, some businesses are finding ways to help and augment the efforts of governments and international bodies to combat the global health crisis.

One of such industries which has been hit hard by the pandemic is the fashion and beauty industry. Though a lot of these brands have ceased production, they are responding to the call. Many fashion companies have responded by contributing funds towards relief efforts.

International luxury fashion brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, MAC Cosmetics, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder among others have made several donations to aid in research and developing vaccines. Others are also mobilizing their skills and resources to produce PPE kits and other essential supplies to help combat the crisis. Other brands are also delivering care packages to health workers to show gratitude.

In Africa, the story is no different. Twenty-four-year-old fashion designer, David Avido from Kenya who has designed for reggae stars such as Jamaican singer Koffee is actively involved in the fight.  Avido is providing free face masks to people in his native Kibera as a way to fight the spread in East Africa’s largest informal settlement. So far, 10,000 masks have been given out.

One of Africa’s biggest luxury fashion brands, Tiffany Amber Nigeria, founded by Folake Akindele Coker has channelled its resources in producing essential items during this period. Tiffany Amber Nigeria decided to focus its expertise in garment production on producing medical garments and face masks to bridge the gap in the supply of medical apparel.

In Ghana, small to large scale brands are finding innovative ways to support. Through government intensified efforts, local manufacturers are set to produce 3.6 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers to fight the spread of the pandemic in the country.

One of such companies which is at the forefront is garment production company, Sleek Garments Export Limited, with production capacity of about 4,000 to 10,000 per day. Sleek Garments Export Limited has been in existence for over 40 years and is led by Nora Bannerman.

Ghanaian apparel company Sixteen47, led by Nura Archer, is also producing face shields, masks and other PPEs to meet the rising demand. So far, they have produced over 50,000 face shields and made several donations to frontline health workers.

Stop Coronavirus Ghana, a citizen-led initiative aimed at combating COVID-19, in partnership with Jeanie JQ, a fashion accessory brand, is distributing free non-medical masks to vulnerable persons in society to control the spread.

Many fashion designers have also started producing masks to support the fight. Other brands like Pistis, Lauren Haute Couture and Details by Neyomi have also taking it a notch higher by creating fashion statement pieces for their clients. A

ctress and Media Personality, Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku was seen in a stylishly beaded face mask during the recently held 3 Music Awards. The mask was designed by Ghanaian fashion house, Pistis. Fashion schools like Riohs Originate and Dreams College of Creative Arts are also distributing free face masks.

Ghanaian skincare brand, Teiva is producing tons of hand sanitizers to support the cause. Luxury beauty brand, R&R Luxury has donated over 100 care packages to doctors and nurses at the Surgical Ward (ICU) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. Other beauty stakeholders are also sharing self-care tips on how people can navigate the new normal.

The fashion and beauty industry has a great role to play in these uncertain times. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to continue to rally support in the fight against COVID-19.

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