Our Fashion Heroes

by Thomas Brooks FRSA — Junior Fash­ion Edi­tor

It is need­less to say that this pan­dem­ic has had effects on many of us, it can be chal­leng­ing to moti­vate, to stay cre­ative and to car­ry on with our lives; we have all been asked to be at a stand­still in a bid to fight the coro­n­avirus. Many brands, design­ers and influ­encers have set aside their future goals, but it is their cur­rent actions that give us faith. From gen­er­at­ing dona­tions to join­ing forces to cre­ate PPE/face masks, they have shown why the fash­ion indus­try is so great; at times of cri­sis, we quick­ly come togeth­er and inno­vate to pro­vide pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions. 

Ede­line Lee

Ede­line Lee is anoth­er force to be reck­oned with. Hav­ing appren­ticed for Alexan­der McQueen and John Gal­liano, work­ing for Zac Posen and being the Head Design­er for Rod­nik; it is evi­dent that she has expe­ri­ence, where­by her flair is what makes this design­er so fas­ci­nat­ing to myself. The design­er has been quot­ed to design for the “the Future Lady”, her col­lec­tions have the ele­gance we all aspire but the prac­ti­cal­i­ty and ver­sa­til­i­ty we need. Ede­line Lee has strong sup­port from the fash­ion indus­try espe­cial­ly from women, she even hosts the Women & Pow­er Speak­er Series at Fen­wick of Bond Street. The recent top­ic being Women Writ­ing Women, with a dis­cus­sion between Anne Seb­ba and Vir­ginia Nichol­son. Ede­line is a proac­tive design­er who owns no lim­its, and her plans dur­ing lock­down shows her integri­ty.

Dur­ing her time in lock­down, Lee has start­ed a Non-Prof­it Mask Mak­ing Project. The aim is to pro­duce 20,000 masks for front­line work­ers from 100% Non­wo­ven Spun­bound PolyPropy­lene. Being trans­par­ent and hon­est, these masks are not med­ical-grade N95 or P3 how­ev­er these masks are to pro­vide extra pro­tec­tion. She isn’t mak­ing these masks her­self, she has inter­act­ed with every­one and encour­ag­ing those who have the skillset to sew to help reach the goal and pro­duce masks – if you’re able and will­ing, email masks@edelinelee.com, alter­na­tive­ly donate to sup­port logis­ti­cal costs at her GoFundMe page. Whilst Lee isn’t a sci­en­tist, she has been metic­u­lous in her research and is deter­mined to help pro­vide face masks to front lin­ers as they run out of PPE.

Insta­gram: @edelinelee

Pack of Three Masks

Jean Shafiroff

Jean Shafiroff

There is one word to describe Shafiroff that comes to mind, resilience. Being quite hands-on with sup­port­ing dif­fer­ent social caus­es, one would ques­tion ‘what now?’ for the phil­an­thropist as we are all bound to lock­down. Hav­ing chaired numer­ous galas for New York Women’s Foun­da­tion, Southamp­ton Hos­pi­tal (NYC), and Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety to name a few, her con­tri­bu­tions and influ­ence has been not only noticed but award­ed. With these glam­orous social func­tions, she has a col­lec­tion of over 200 gowns from Car­oli­na Her­rera to Malan Bre­ton – an inter­est­ing fact for us nosey park­ers who want insight into her fash­ion­able wardrobe. Putting her ball­go­wns back into the wardrobe, she is doing what she does best with­out the galas. Jean Shafiroff shows her resilience by influ­enc­ing her audi­ence to con­tribute with­out the black tie.

Before the pan­dem­ic, Jean is quot­ed “I believe we are not just put on this earth to just to con­sume and to pro­vide for our­selves and our imme­di­ate fam­i­lies”. She remains true with her state­ment, with poignant reminders of sim­ple tasks we can all do to pre­vent the spread, her week­ly prayers become reg­u­lar nudges to donate funds or avail­able to food to those in need. In addi­tion, as a mem­ber of the board for Southamp­ton Hos­pi­tal Asso­ci­a­tion, not only is she active­ly donat­ing – she is ask­ing you to donate and have your pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion. Jean Shafiroff has shown that wher­ev­er she goes is a gala, and she uses that to her advan­tage.

Insta­gram: @jeanshafiroff

Web­site: www.jeanshafiroff.com

Donate to: Feed­ing Amer­i­ca, Food Bank for NYC, Mis­sion Soci­ety for NYC, God’s Love We Deliv­er, City Har­vest, Citymeals on Wheels

Emile Vidar Carr

Emile Vidal Carr is an inter­na­tion­al wom­enswear design­er with a knack for archi­tec­ture and colour. The designer’s port­fo­lio speaks for itself, work­ing with the world’s pres­ti­gious fash­ion hous­es such as Alexan­der McQueen, Roland Mouret and Ralph & Rus­so. Emile has not only embarked his brand 5 years ago; he was a final­ist for the 2019 DHL Fash­ion poten­tial award in part­ner­ship with the British Fash­ion Coun­cil. Emile Vidal Carr is ver­sa­tile and inno­v­a­tive, this is shown in his cre­ative vision for his brand, to engi­neer gar­ments for women opposed to tai­lor­ing; fur­ther­more, this ener­gy is still run­ning strong with his #Iso­late­and­Cre­ate Cam­paign.

Under­stand­ing that as the nation is in lock­down with a major­i­ty fur­loughed, this is the best time to be cre­ative. More­over, this time is a fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ty to encour­age upcy­cling and be more sus­tain­able. Thus, the designer’s action plan was to send pack­ages that includ­ed fab­rics, threads and trims from his col­lec­tions to his fol­low­ers to cre­ate their own upcy­cled Emile Vidal Carr tote. Not only does this moti­vate and uplift the fash­ion com­mu­ni­ty and his con­sumers, his cam­paign was the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to have zero waste. Emile Vidal Carr will be reshar­ing his favourite totes on his own Insta­gram. We have learnt a les­son from the design­er, being sus­tain­able can keep us moti­vat­ed. Who wouldn’t be chuffed with an Emile Vidal Carr tote with the knowl­edge that you’ve reduced waste? A hap­py envi­ron­ment makes for a hap­py mind.

Insta­gram: @emilevidalcarr

Web­site: www.emilevidalcarr.com

Abel Hon­or

Fash­ion label from New York, pro­claimed to be a brand of hav­ing a ‘no-non­sense approach to fash­ion’, Kate Wasser­bach, for­mer Asso­ciate Design­er for Michael Kors is wast­ing no time dur­ing lock­down. Sim­i­lar to Ede­line Lee, Wasser­bach has acknowl­edged the impor­tance of PPE. Launch­ing #ABELSHONOR, she has the aim of giv­ing “back to not only our health­care work­ers ‑and our com­mu­ni­ty- but to con­nect to the gen­er­al pub­lic to tack­le the pre­ven­ta­tive curve. We had pur­chased a bulk amount of PPE with the idea of send­ing all of the prod­uct to hos­pi­tals in need.” An exam­ple of the great help she has offered, she donat­ed 1000 masks to Elmhurst Hos­pi­tal in New York due to severe short­age of PPE sup­plies. She has used her cam­paign and plat­form to reach out to those in need of PPE, but also to encour­age oth­ers to help where one can; a col­lec­tion of small acts con­tributes to the greater good.

With the influx of requests, the immense pres­sure doesn’t sway Wasser­bach or her team, they send out masks to nurs­ing homes, small­er ICU teams or even larg­er groups such as Sloan Ket­ter­ing; who do not nec­es­sar­i­ly inter­act with COVID-19 patients but in order for them to con­tin­ue to treat can­cer patients they are in a high need of masks. It is clear that Abel Hon­or and the team have not just thought about front lin­ers but those who could get affect­ed if they aren’t helped to pre­vent the spread. 

If you’re in the US and are in need of masks, please con­tact you@abelhonornewyork.com

Insta­gram: @abelhonornewyork

Web­site: www.abelhonornewyork.com


The World of Pyrrha has got­ten a lot more whole­some as the jew­ellery brand rede­fines mean­ing­ful with com­pas­sion for our plan­et, but we want to show how this brand is show­ing this same ener­gy to the peo­ple. Design­ers Danielle Wilmore and Wade Papin found­ed Pyrrha, a brand that cre­ates hand­craft­ed jew­ellery using reclaimed ster­ling sil­ver, bronze, and 14K gold with con­flict-free stones. It is said that ‘Pyrrha jew­el­ry reflects the process­es and peo­ple that craft it, proud­ly bear­ing the maker’s hand.’ With each sym­bol that a tal­is­man rep­re­sents, and the care pro­vid­ed, it is no sur­prise that Pyrrha have active­ly want­ed to bring these tal­is­mans to those they believe are impor­tant and spe­cial.

Culled from her­aldry, these sym­bol­ic tal­is­mans adopt a whole new mean­ing and sen­ti­ments for their pieces as the brand gifts nom­i­nat­ed health­care work­ers with their jew­ellery with Insta­gram. This is kind action is present in their ethos, ‘we believe that suc­cess­ful busi­ness does not have to come at the expense of peo­ple or the plan­et’; whilst the B Cor­po­ra­tion is con­sis­tent with their views on sus­tain­abil­i­ty through their tech­niques of craft­ing the beau­ti­ful tal­is­mans, dur­ing these try­ing times, Pyrrha is devot­ing its atten­tion to the peo­ple.

Insta­gram: @pyrrhajewelry

Web­site: www.pyrrha.com

Olivia Annabelle

How does it feel to be British, espe­cial­ly now? Dur­ing dif­fi­cult times, the Brits nev­er back down; we take pride in hav­ing a stiff upper lip when stuck in adver­si­ty. Design­er Olivia Welsh from Man­ches­ter cap­tures this well with her Flo­rence Nightin­gale t‑shirt in a beau­ti­ful NHS blue. Welsh has been a design­er that has been very care­ful with curat­ing a col­lec­tion, tak­ing inspi­ra­tion from dif­fer­ent time peri­ods; thus, it is befit­ting that the brand presents a pos­i­tive reminder from the past with Nightin­gale. Fur­ther­more, her team have focused on the pos­i­tive and are com­mem­o­rat­ing the ‘Year of the Nurse’, whilst high­light­ing 200 years since Nightingale’s birth. 

This is poet­ry to our ears; I think it is with agree­ment that using the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ who found­ed nurs­ing to be a poignant reminder for us all. We have been remind­ed that we need to care and to respect our nurs­es, espe­cial­ly now. 100% of prof­its of the Uni­sex Char­i­ty T‑shirt will be going to help fund PPE for NHS staff. With this pur­chase, not only are you receiv­ing an exclu­sive print from Hat­tie Matthews for OA on a 100% fine jer­sey cot­ton t‑shirt, most impor­tant­ly you’re con­tribut­ing to a big­ger goal of pro­tect­ing our NHS staff so they can do what they do best: cater­ing for you and your needs.

Insta­gram: @oliviaannabelleapparel

Uni­sex Char­i­ty T‑shirt with exclu­sive print by Hat­tie Matthews for OA