Our supply chain isn’t really being affected, though, because we purchased all of our materials for production before the show. We buy surplus and deadstock fabrics from different designers around London, so we actually have everything here ready to go—we just don’t have our team here to [make the clothes], and we don’t have the sales confirmations we need yet. We aren’t sure if we will ever have them, so it’s a real time of uncertainty. Our cashflow has entirely stopped—there is no movement of money, and we’re obviously a really small brand. We’re independent, and we have absolutely no buoyancy to deal with an extreme situation like this. So we are thinking really carefully about how we’re going to cope if this is going to continue for months.
But, the main priority is the health of everyone. And we have equipment here [like sewing machines] that could be used to make things that are needed, like face masks for the medical professions that have depleting stocks. These masks can’t be worn continuously, they’re meant to be single use, and the medical community is getting through them really quickly. So at the moment, all of our designing is on hold, and I’m in the studio furiously emailing to see if I can find any guidance on how I can make face masks in this time of emergency. I feel that is the most important thing to put my energies into—to use my resources and diversify my skills to do something that’s useful and urgent. I’ve emailed the government, the mayor’s office, Downing Street, all of these bodies to see if they can share pointers on the best and safest way to make them.
I haven’t gotten very far with emails, though, so I’ve had to rely on social media. I’m receiving a lot of feedback on Instagram, and lots of people are asking how they can help, because they also have equipment. Someone else just contacted me and said they need 50 million masks urgently within a week, which we obviously can’t do. But there’s a lot of people here who want to help. I’m just trying to figure out if we go down the makeshift, DIY approach or if we do it really formally with the correct materials [for face masks]. I haven’t got any capital to purchase special materials, which is why I’m trying to reach out to anyone who might have them. If you hear anything, please let me know.
[By next season] I don’t think things will go back to normal. This is an unprecedented situation, and I don’t think any of us will come out of this feeling normal at all. There’s now a lot of evidence that people who were quarantined for 60 days are coming out of it with quite severe PTSD, and how that will affect entire nations that have to quarantine… We just don’t know. We don’t know how people are going to be feeling after all of this is over, or when it’s going to be over, so we just have to wait and see, and try to be agile, flexible, kind, supportive, and helpful where we can. Because there is literally nothing else we can do at the moment. I’ve been here for two days on my own, and it’s just horrible. Humans are pack animals—we are designed to be together. It’s very, very unnatural for us to be separated, and that’s why we use isolation as a punishment. So this is going to be hard for us all to recover from, in terms of our psychology. In the meantime, we can just try our best and stay connected the best we can.