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Fashion industry answers the call for masks and personal protective equipment to fight Covid-19

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With stores closed, runway shows canceled and global supply chains disrupted, much of the fashion industry has been rendered idle by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, designers, luxury labels and fashion conglomerates are all stepping up to help overcome shortages of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in some of the hardest-hit countries.
In the US, where health officials have warned that stockpiles of medical equipment may be insufficient despite manufacturers ramping up production, some medical workers have been forced to reuse masks between patients and even make their own.
A Hedley & Bennett face mask

A Hedley & Bennett face mask
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took his appeal for assistance in the country’s worst-hit state to Twitter, writing: “We need companies to be creative to supply the crucial gear our healthcare workers need.”
His call was answered with offers to retool production and put sewing teams and unused resources to good use.
One of the first to respond was designer and “Project Runway” alumni, Christian Siriano. “If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some,” he tweeted. “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.”
Just days after his online exchange with Cuomo, the designer posted a video of facemask production already underway.
Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung, who is based in New York, has also offered to help, saying via his brand’s Instagram account that he hoped “not only to fill the void of critical PPE, but to mobilize our domestic partners, revitalizing US producers and suppliers.” And designer Brandon Maxwell, who has dressed high-profile figures from Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama, announced that he is redirecting resources toward the production of gowns for medical workers.
Elsewhere in the country, luxury swimwear brand Karla Colletto has offered up its Virginia factory, and Los Angeles Apparel (a brand founded by American Apparel’s Dov Charney) donated the services of its 450-person-plus workforce to produce face masks. And it’s not just consumer brands pitching in to help — apron and culinary clothing manufacturer Hedley & Bennett, for instance, is now producing masks for frontline workers with the help of donations.

European heavyweights step up

It is in Europe, however, that the most substantial offers have emerged, with some of the world’s biggest fashion companies throwing their weight behind PPE production. Two of the continent’s giants, H&M and Inditex, Zara’s parent company, have both committed to gearing their sizable operations toward medical supplies.
French Luxury conglomerate Kering announced that two of its brands, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, are preparing to manufacture covid masks. The group has also committed to acquiring 3 million Chinese masks for French health service, while its largest brand, Gucci, is looking to make and donate 1.1 million masks and 55,000 medical overalls to authorities in hard-hit Italy.
A mask being machine-sewn at a Prada factory in Tuscany, Italy

A mask being machine-sewn at a Prada factory in Tuscany, Ital
Rival LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior among others, is also leveraging its global supply chain to source 40 million facemasks from China over the next four weeks. The multinational will finance the first week’s worth of deliveries, a pledge amounting to five million euros, according to a press release.
Italy is perhaps where new equipment is needed most, with the country’s north now the world’s worst-affected area. Here, Prada said it has begun production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks at the request of authorities in Tuscany.
Elsewhere, Fast Retailing, the Japanese parent company of global clothing giant Uniqlo, has enlisted the help of its manufacturing partners in China to procure approximately 10 million protective masks.
But not all the industry’s champions are big-name luxury brands. Textile firm Miroglio Group, who work across the fashion supply chain from sourcing textiles to making finished garments, has recently retooled its operation in the Piedmont region, and last week delivered its first batch of 10,000 “hygienic” washable cotton and elastane masks, which they are supplying to emergency workers, NGOs and journalists, first in Italy but also further afield.
A worker at the Miroglio Group factory in Italy

A worker at the Miroglio Group factory in Italy
“After our first batch went out we started receiving lots of orders from other companies. We are giving priority to older people and those who are managing the crisis — police, healthcare workers,” said the company’s CEO Alberto Racca over the phone.
The company aims to complete another 600,000 by the middle of next week, and believes it can eventually produce as many as 100,000 a day.
“We’ve never manufactured a mask in our whole history, what we tried to do immediately was gather in one room all the key people in our company with the relevant skills, and in a couple of hours, we came up with a prototype,” he said. They now have 500 employees working on producing the masks, which are being sold at cost, while some costs are being covered by individual donations.
A worker sews a mask at a Miroglio Group factory in Piedmont, Italy

A worker sews a mask at a Miroglio Group factory in Piedmont, Italy
“We have roughly 5,000 people working for us in Italy, and all of them, including those not directly involved in this process, felt a sense of pride for what the company is doing. Especially in these times, where there is a lot of uncertainty, people really feel powerless. But feeling that you can join forces and actually make something happen, is for everyone, and for myself I have to say, a great sense of purpose,” Racca said.

Question of effectiveness

Most of the firms offering to produce PPE in recent days have specified that their output is intended to help medical workers and first responders. But few have outlined in how, or even if, their creations will meet strict medical requirements.
Health officials usually recommend the use of an N95 mask, which can filter out 95% of airborne particles, though America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now said that other filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are acceptable in times of shortage.
Siriano has expressed hopes that his masks will be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while culinary clothing firm Hedley & Bennett said that its reusable items aren’t. (“They are not direct substitutes for N95 surgical or procedural masks,” the company stressed, though the items, “if used correctly, should help reduce person-to-person droplet transmission of the virus.”)
Given the severity of shortages around the world, however, something may be better than nothing. Los Angeles Apparel, for instance, has accepted that its terry cotton mask is not ideal, though it “seems to be a worthwhile substitute for those without access to surgical masks or other.”
Even if the items end up in public, rather than medical hands, they may still aid the fight against Covid-19. While the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of disease remains a matter of debate, demand has surged around the world, and a new supply could make it easier for medical staff — for whom wearing one can be a matter of life and death — to get the equipment they need.
A Christian Dior factory worker on the assembly line for hand sanitizer

A Christian Dior factory worker on the assembly line for hand sanitizer
The fashion industry is not alone in helping meet the shortfall of medical supplies. In the US, mask donors have included dentists, woodwork enthusiasts and the investment bank Goldman Sachs. Medical workers have been using the hashtag #GetMePPE to elicit donations from members of the public, while prison inmates in Chicago and New York have been enlisted to produce protective equipment.
Perfume makers and distilleries are among the businesses that have retooled their facilities to produce hand sanitizer, which has also been in short supply.

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Mr Eazi proposes to Temi Otedola!

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For what seemed like a long while, celebrity power couple—Mr Eazi and Temi Otedola—are finally engaged as Oluwatosin Ajibade better known as Mr Eazi pops the heartwarming “Will you be my wife?” question to his girlfriend of 2 years Temiloluwa Otedola and she responded favourably in the affirmative “Yes” tone.

Fashion mogul and Icon Temi Otedola began dating artiste and music label CEO Mr Eazi in the year 2020 and have been living together ever since in their London apartment, sharing intimate moments, even meeting respective family members. This they’ve both shared in detail on their How Far? With Mr Eazi And Temi Otedola podcast.

Temi announced her engagement by posting the sea-side proposal of Mr Eazi on one knee asking the important question. The video goes by the simple caption of the infinity logo connoting they’re both locked in for life.

Congratulations to Temi Otedola and Mr Eazi!

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Nicki Minaj agrees “Essence” should be song of the year at the Grammys

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American superstar rapper, Nicki Minaj, shares the same sentiments as myriads of Wizkid fans and well-wishers worldwide, in that she concurs to the argument the trendsetting crossover record-breaking single from Wizkid’s 2020 released “Made In Lagos” album, Essence should be in the conversation for the coveted “Record of the Year” plaque at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Although “Essence” did not receive the much desired nomination in the category for “Record of the Year” at the 2022 Grammy Awards, it did get a nod for Best Global Music Performance, the first of its kind.

Irrespective of the snub, Nicki whilie on Joe Budden TV (YouTube) as a guest on the special episode tagged A Conversation With Nicki Minaj & Joe Budden agreed with the host (Joe Budden) when he said “We need people on the Grammy board that know that “Essence” was song of the year” with an exclamatory “Right! Right!” response. She even proffered, “We should have our own Grammy Board“, in support of many and the popular believe that Black Americans or black artistes in general are always stereotyped to a particular category at the award show, if indeed they made it to the top categories, they barely win; Nicki Minaj does not have a Grammy Award herself and that is still a shock to many, especially when considering her refined catalogue of music.

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Pheelz & Buju (BNXN) live the carefree lifestyle on “Finesse”

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After much teasing, the anticipated Finesse by Pheelz and Buju (now BNXN) hit DSPs across the globe and just like the teaser gave off, Finesse is a banger! It is produced by young producer under Pheelz’s wing known as Miichkel.

On Finesse, Pheelz and Buju live their life to the fullest, the carefree lifestyle is what they desire and they are determined to stay on that track for the time being. “I’ve been living the fast life but I see it in slow mo / And you see my lifestyle, I got Gs in the turbo / . . . / Bad girl sey she want Netflix & Chill / So I ja ticket give her warning / If you fall in love, girls it’s certain / You go chop breakfast, I’m not capping“, Pheelz explains on the first verse, even saying love and relationship cannot stop him from living the ‘ballers’ lifestyle; “I’d be dammed if there’s anybody that could be like me / I be like Mo’ Salah, coming up the right wing / I cut through your defender, you no need to tell me / I must finesse / And you know sey me I must net“, Buju braggingly adds on the second verse, saying he can score any chick that catches his eye and dish her the next minute.

listen to the popular joyous chorus “Ah finesse / If I broke na my business / Ama shana e go bright o / Folake for the nighr ohere or on Apple Music.:

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