When the world learnt about the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, no one knew just how much the new disease would impact the world in almost all aspects of life. One of the sectors of life badly hit by the pandemic is the fashion industry. But even with the negative effects, the disease offers some business opportunities to some designers who are coming up with various face masks designs. One of such designers is Xandria of Xandria House of Fashion. Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with Xandria, the brains Xandria House of Fashion for more:
Q: How has Covid-19 affected the fashion industry in general?
A: Covid-19 has affected the fashion industry a lot because people are now financially burdened by lay-offs, new childcare responsibilities, and the desire to buy new clothes feels like a distant dream, so many consumers aren’t interested in buying clothes right now. There’s so much focus on buying essential items to survive during the lockdown and I think everyone’s mind has naturally been focused on that.
So, fashion just becomes an after-thought, or no thought at all in that kind of context. Also, one of the main reasons people buy clothes is because they have certain events they want to dress to like weddings, engagements and evening cocktails, but now with the cancellation of most events,people do not really have places to go to and dress up for. No-one wants to buy clothes, wear them and sit at home. Fashionable clothes are usually for public events.
Q: In the face of the pandemic, we have seen a number of fashion designers coming up with beautiful face masks that go well with fashion-conscious people. Have you taken this route? If yes what have you been designing?
A: We have taken this route but even more. Apart from just making ordinary fashion-friendly masks, at Xandria we are focusing on making masks recommended by the World Health organisation [WHO] that will surely protect you by incorporating N95 filters in them and using the recommended fabrics. The types of masks we are making are providing double protection and these are respirators with double N95 filters, full face shields and tightly woven fabric masks. The reason we are doing this is to help contribute to combat the pandemic and to provide a wide range of protective face masks.
Q: How are Malawians reacting to your designs?
A: So far, Malawians are reacting very well, and we are mostly getting feedback where people are saying our type of masks are more breathable and comfortable than most. We have made for several individuals and organisations like NBS Bank, Comesa, The Venue, Face Forward Spas just to mention a few.
Q: Do you think in the face of the pandemic, fashion designers can find some opportunities?
A: Yes. Fashion designers can find a lot of opportunities this is the time. All that is needed is to push oneself harder and get more creative. If we cannot do what we love, let’s do what we can. Instead on just focusing on making clothes that we make in our day to day lives, fashion designers should now adapt to the season and start making things in line with the times we are in like the protective masks.
Q: How unique are your designs that make them stand out? A: My designs are very unique because I stay true to myself and my style. My masks stand out more because I do not limit my creativity. I don’t settle for basics. I try as much as possible to design in an extraordinary way. I’m an authentic fashion designer