Hazel Clark (Parsons School of Design, New York). COVID-19-fashion, women and collective consciousness

As retail sales drop and US department stores close in the wake of the pandemic, fashion has taken on new roles focused on human need, not want and desire. Several initiatives will be discussed as reactions to COVID-19, which indicate a more responsible caring role for fashion going forward. Fashion Girls for Humanity, established in response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake, has made mask and gown patterns accessible to people in 146 countries. US sustainable fashion brand Eileen Fisher has been running online Women Together Connect gatherings focusing on health and well-being. Fashion designer Kerby Jean Raymond donated cash to minority and women-owned businesses and provided supplies to health workers, as New York became the epicenter of the outbreak. It is argued that these and other examples can redefine ‘fashion’ away from profitability towards humanity and a [global] collective consciousness — one where women are playing a seminal role.