British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the launch of Great British Designer Face Coverings: Reusable, for People and Planet, a joint campaign with Bags of Ethics, to manufacture and retail internationally, sustainable and reusable non-medical face coverings to use alongside existing social distancing measures.
Designed in London by six British designers, Halpern, Julien Macdonald, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, RAEBURN and RIXO the project aims to raise £1 million with 100% of sale profits going to charity and split between NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, BFC Foundation Fashion Fund and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity.
The non-medical face coverings are manufactured at Bags of Ethics 100% owned partner factories and provide a reusable and sustainable option for the environment with no single-use plastic. The non-medical face coverings will not deplete the healthcare system. The product will be retailed at £15 for three reusable, washable, fabric face coverings with two protective pouches. These non-medical face coverings will be available to buy online through www.britishfashioncouncil.com and through partner retailers soon including ASOS, Boots, John Lewis & Partners and Sainsbury’s (in Tu Clothing sections in selected superstores, convenience stores and online at Tu.co.uk and Argos.co.uk)
Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC said: “Fashion is a unifying force and now, more than ever, it is essential that we collaborate and come together to support each other through difficult times. Our ambition is to contribute to the fight against COVID-19, while protecting vital PPE supplies reserved for the NHS. Through this project, we will not only celebrate British designers but also champion sustainability in a time of crisis. “
Dr R Sri Ram, Chairman, Bags of Ethics: “We have always been at the forefront of supporting the public through mass behavioural changes in positive and useful ways. Since the early 2000s we helped supermarkets, and retailers reduce their single-use plastic bag consumption by 5+ billion units through sustainable and reusable bags. A new challenge arises with the Coronavirus pandemic. Our aim is to manufacture high quality reusable non-medical face coverings for the public which reduces stigma through great British design, in line with advice from our scientific community, whilst having a positive effect on both people and planet.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “Wearing of non-medical face coverings when you can’t socially distance is important to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It is great to see such leadership from our fashion industry – this partnership will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and raise money for important causes.”
The project is part of BFC’s wider initiatives to support creative fashion businesses and individuals to survive the pandemic. It aims to instil public confidence and unite the country through creativity, prevent further depletion of medical mask supplies, champion British designers and maximize fundraising opportunities in a time of crisis.
Most recently, the UK Government issued guidance for the public to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible. The reason why a non-medical facial covering is important is not that it keeps you safe, but because it stops you from inadvertently giving someone else the virus if you are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic.
The BFC says that since the beginning of the crisis, it has acted as a vital resource and worked tirelessly to brief government on the challenges facing the industry, while keeping all stakeholders up to date through letters, social media updates, digital Town Hall meetings and newsletters. The money raised for the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund will support the next round of funding to give back to the designer businesses and protect the future of a generation of businesses that support the eco-system of design, creativity and positive cultural influence.
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