The year 2020 will not be forgotten in a hurry and has certainly changed many peoples lives forever, unfortunately not in a good way. I have decided to do a positive round up of my year in the studio and how world events took over my plans...
As 2020 started I was designing pieces for my next collection and deciding which fashion show I would take part in, but that never happened.
As the world pandemic began to dominate the news, fashion shows and other global events were cancelled due to the virus and fashion shows were moving to showing online only with no celebrity audiences attending. This was to become a theme of the year, shows and other events without audiences even on tv... it seemed like nothing would ever be the same again.
In the end I decided to hold back on my designs until I could grasp the implications of the pandemic, after all my designs were still there but people weren't going anywhere or allowed to socialise in the normal way and so I held off creating anything until I could see a way forward.
My designs are all created for those special occasions when people are dressing up in their best and so this was an odd time to be thinking of partying, loungewear was the latest fashion and sales of pyjamas outselling everything else in clothing.
Realising I could not take part in any shows, even though during the year events kept being optimistically planned and then again cancelled, I found myself not even being able to produce a photoshoot with real models in the end!
Fairly quickly we all had to rethink our everyday life as we were all made to stay inside and the world of online meeting began to evolve for our social lives and business meetings. I shifted my attention to working on my website which I probably would not have otherwise and decided to create my online shop.
This was a big problem, how would I go about it without being able to use live models, so I got creative and photographed my garments on the mannequins or flat which is not as easy as it sounds! My mannequins don't have legs and so I could not photograph trousers or jumpsuits as easily! I actually have enjoyed the challenge of working out creative ways to show my garments although nothing can truly replace the lovely models we use.
I have realised this is something I really enjoy working on, probably because it was a new creative outlet for me and a much needed one for me at that time and one I probably would not have discovered if we had not had this time to ourselves.
On a positive note I did celebrate my 6 years in business this August and the fact I am still going is a massive achievement for me, so not to be overlooked, especially as the year has been devastating for many businesses big and small. On that note I wish to thank all my loyal customers and followers for your support!
As images started emerging of hazmat suited medics and Chinese citizens out wearing masks, I thought perhaps I could do something to help due to talk of a shortage of PPE in the UK.
I made some prototype masks, initially for myself, family and friends. After researching the type of water repellent fabrics which could be used to help prevent water droplets be absorbed when breathing, I realised although this fabric technology is available but rather costly.
Next I spent a while developing shapes of masks and came up with different styles to make, only in the end deciding to use cotton fabric, with a pocket opening to add an extra filter for protection if required.
I had been working on my masks when I came across a Facebook post from a nurse who had finished an exhausting shift at her work when she had no clean scrubs available. She had began to sew her own scrubs and was looking for help.
I was following this post and saw within a week she had several thousands of followers and offers of help to make masks and scrubs for hospitals and carers around the country. Soon after she set up a group called 'for the love of scrubs' and there were subgroups set up across the whole country.
I joined a local group and made some sets of scrubs and masks for my local hospital. I was still following this thread and seen she has motivated nearly half million people across the country to sew scrubs which was a remarkable achievement and a very quick response from the public in this time of need!
This inspired me to make a blog for my followers on how to make their own masks and do something to help. It was quite a desperate situation for a while when elastic supplies had run out across the country and stocks of polycotton fabric were being used up.
The facemask was being sold by all the top fashion houses as well as ready to sew kits being sold, probably the years most sold accessory...soon after the government had ordered millions of pounds worth of PPE supplies and this I hoped would be manufactured in the UK as the factories would have a new source of work.
I was also inspired to write my own A to Z relating to my ethical luxury business as seen on Instagram tohelp clarify my brand values.
Much of my work in previous years has been bespoke clothing for wedding or party related garments, for example mother of the bride, bridal gowns or party dresses but this has all been unable to take place as I could not work face to face with my bespoke clients and no events were taking place.
Luckily I still have other types of clients, some of which have their own brands that I freelance for. I help them with their collections and the skills I have as a pattern cutter and machinist meant that I still had some income during the year as well as selling my own facemasks.
I also designed some smaller pieces for my online shop that would be great gifts for people who want to buy something beautiful, ethical and luxury from my online shop.
As well as working on new designs, during the last year I also spent some time researching more new fabrics. There are new fibres and fabrics being developed all the time and new ways to make use of old fibres which will be helping reduce our carbon footprint in the years to come. Look out for more about that during the year...
I am looking forward to people being able to meet up face to face again and to really celebrate our lives, making people happy by making beautiful clothes for their special occasions and events.
My collections are all about dressing up, looking and feeling your best, but all in an ethical and luxurious way!
I am looking forward to this new year positively and I hope that you all have a healthy and prosperous year!
#newyear #newyearnewblog #fashionblog #britishmade #ethicalluxury #consciousclothing #carolinebrucedesigns