The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on pretty much every aspect of the fashion industry, and it will continue to affect it long after it (hopefully) becomes contained. Small businesses around the world have been hit particularly hard because of retail closures, canceled orders and an expected economic slowdown. Many have rallied behind a message: It's important to support these enterprises if and when you can, now more than ever.
Kellie Brown, the blogger behind And I Get Dressed and a small-business owner herself, says: "Supporting small businesses is incredibly important because we want and need them to survive this chaos! I'm already feeling the effects [of the pandemic] so anything I can do to help brands I love is important."
Maria Alia, a freelance creative based in New York, described the past two weeks as "a trying time," with her work flow "a bit uncertain for the next few months" — something other influencers, many of whom are independent contractors, have spoken about. However, she says: "I'm thankful to still have the luxury and privilege to be able to support the brands and businesses that are being hit even harder at this time."
The industry has been mobilizing at all levels to lend a hand. In the U.S., designers like Kerby Jean-Raymond and organizations including the CFDA have set aside funds to provide financial relief to businesses that have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. On social media, more people — from editors to influencers to stylists — have been spreading the word about the importance of supporting small brands whenever possible, whether that's by purchasing from them if you're able or simply engaging with their posts.
To that end, we asked Brown, Alia and other tastemakers to share the fashion and beauty businesses they're backing right now. Discover their picks, below.
Alyssa Coscarelli, influencer, editor, consultant and Fashionista contributor
"Entireworld is my go-to lately for sweatsuits and cotton loungewear. The colors are uplifting and everything is super soft and holds up well. I have the sweatsuit in three colors.
"If you haven't tried Simon Miller's 'RIB' pieces yet, may I suggest treating yourself? They're ideal lounge pieces for looking put-together but still feeling 100% comfy. The rib material is stretchy but still holds its shape and can be easily dressed up with a pair of earrings or a lipstick, if you're into that sort of thing.
"I Am That Shop is one of my favorite online vintage retailers and I recently bought a floral skirt solely because it made me happy. It was affordable and delivered promptly. 10/10, would recommend.
"The Line By K makes basics that feel almost too sexy to even be considered basics.
"In Soft Focus also makes beautiful loungewear in uplifting color palettes. My current favorite robe is from this brand (it's color-blocked pink, green, and beige) and I've been wearing it more like a housecoat, day in and day out.
"Jonesy makes some of my favorite undies as of late. I love the high-cut silhouettes, plus they're all super-soft and made in the USA."
Kellie Brown, influencer and blogger at And I Get Dressed
"The Honey Pot Company is a black/female-owned company making feminine hygiene products. I first learned about them after some racist backlash from a Target commercial and immediately wanted to support. The products are amazing!
"I've said this 100 times but Nécessaire [makes] literally the best lotion I've put on my body. I own just about everything! I love the branding, the packaging and the clean ingredients. I just ordered more Sandalwood body soap and there's a new deodorant I'm testing!
"Henning is an inclusive luxury fashion brand created by Lauren Chan, whom I adore personally and professionally. I have the iconic satin suit, the trench coat and a blazer. It's important because plus-size women deserve indie brands with quality pieces and the impossible task of fundraising for anything to do with big women should qualify you for sainthood.
"11 Honoré is my favorite online boutique for designers who don't otherwise cater to plus size women. I have an Anaak Collection dress that I wear weekly. It's my favorite thing in my closet. I also have several pieces from Camilla and Mara Hoffman that are treasures.
"Melissa Masse is a brand I've known for years. I love that everything comes in size XS to 4X and you can get things 'made to measure.' I've been wearing this mixed-print almost prairie-like maxi to death.
"And I Get Dressed — shameless support of my own line of tees and crews, as I wear one just about every single day. I love the daily photos and videos of people nestled in my designs during this hard time!"
Chrissy Rutherford, editor and 'Harper's Bazaar' contributor
"Brown Butter Beauty — I love this all-natural haircare line, produced in Brooklyn. Its shampoo bar is my go-to. It's perfect when you have super thick, curly hair because you can rub the bar of soap directly into your scalp. And the bar actually lasts a long time.
"I love Mara Hoffman's dedication to inclusivity and sustainability — she's set an example that I wish all brands could follow.
"Aurora James has built a really meaningful business at Brother Vellies, teaming up with global artisans to create her handcrafted shoes. Her brand has a little something for everyone, like stylish yet practical shoes/boots for everyday life as well as fantastical feathered and crystal heels for your inevitable return to the public. I'm also obsessed with BV's Instagram content!"
Maria Alia, influencer and consultant
"Vela Scarves, my favorite hijab brand run by two sisters in LA. This is where I always buy my hijabs from, and I decided to restock on a few of my favorite neutral scarves last week to show support.
"Mariam Al Sibai is an emerging designer and dear friend of mine who makes some of the coolest outerwear right now. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I'm stalking the pre-order for her Fall 2020 collection — this blue vegan trench is screaming my name. Side note: She's been raising funds to purchase PPE supplies to donate to hospitals in need right now.
"Shop LCD — [I'm] obsessed with its selection and curation. I currently have a cart full of Collina Strada, Kkco and Sies Marjan gems that I need to narrow down and order ASAP."
Olivia Kim, VP of Creative Projects at Nordstrom
"Asp & Hand — being surrounded by beautiful, functional objects makes being home more fun. Great for smoothies, wine and blowing bubbles in water with Cleo [Kim's child]! Blair and Eli are incredible artists who I have known since we all lived back in New York, and I love that they're creating and being here in the Pacific Northwest.
"K Banana's Huangjisoo hand sanitizer is incredibly effective and simple with zero fragrance. This cheerful and pop-y boutique focuses on small Korean beauty brands and introduces many of them to U.S. customers for the first time. The company is owned by a Korean-American woman based here in Seattle. That ticks off so many of the boxes I love to stand for and support!
"May Lindstrom's Youth Dew Serum [for] trying to stay hydrated and feeling fresh during all this time indoors and in front of my computer screen. Filled with plant oils and ingredients that support local communities and are sourced ethically, the company also provides its employees with wages far above government-mandated minimum wage as well as generous benefits.
"Westman's Bagels. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent bagel and shmear up here? This is probably the closest I have found! Supporting a young bagel shop by ordering online and having their own employees deliver continues to give them jobs during this hard time.
"Venessa Arizaga's Say Anything DIY Kits and Take Care bracelets [are] funny and cute. We all need to speak our minds and vent and maybe even wear a little swear word of two. These kits are great for kids and adults alike. I’ve always loved how upbeat and happy everything Venessa does is. Again, supporting women-owned small businesses is a must!
"Cecilie Bahnsen. Our friends overseas are equally as affected by the pandemic, so [I'm] showing support in as many ways as possible. To be honest, while I can appreciate the idea of dressing up for Zoom meetings, try doing that with a two-year-old wanting to jump on your lap for every call. I'm waiting to see my friends again IRL and wearing the biggest, poofiest, prettiest dress I can find!"
Sarah Chiwaya, influencer, blogger at Curvily and founder of New York City Plus
"I spotted Chromat's innovative cage designs in a Man Repeller article circa 2012 or so, and I was immediately hooked by the architectural influences. Its architectural origins were excellent, but the brand's transition into fashion-forward swimwear has been even better. Its continued commitment to true size inclusion and model diversity really sets it apart, too — it has been featuring plus models on the runway long before it was treated as a fleeting trend, and that inclusion has never felt tokenizing. I'm building a major collection of its swimsuits, both skimpy-minimal one-pieces and fun, structured long-sleeved options. Aside from the excellent designs and plus representation (both major), the people that make up Chromat are just lovely: Founder Becca McCharen-Tran has come to be a friend, and the whole team is incredible.
"I loved Cynthia Vincent's designs long before she started offering plus with Baacal, so my curiosity was immediately piqued when I heard of the launch. It's one of the few high-end, plus, contemporary labels that focuses on sustainability at every step of the process. Its plaid car coat is one of my very favorite things I own (which is truly saying something, given all the clothes I've accumulated) — I wear it more than anything else in my closet, and know I will for years to come. I also have its gorgeous slip dress and a silk python-print blouse that is my go-to if I need to feel more pulled together ASAP. Baacal is a plus brand made by a plus-size woman who really knows her craft, and it shows: The cut and fit is so thoughtful, and the pieces are the things we all have wanted to elevate our wardrobe.
"I was invited to Hayley Elsaesser's NYFW debut back in 2017, but I had a conflict. When I saw photos from the presentation, I was gutted to have missed it. It was a subversive explosion of color and print, and the casting went beyond the standard. Its singular prints and tongue-in-cheek take on streetwear still feels fresh, and sometimes even a bit too timely (i.e. its "Existential Dread" hoodie right now). My favorites are its graphic tees, including a cropped baby ringer tee from their Teenage Wasteland collection, and the perfect 'Call Cats, Not Cat Calls' tee."
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