The Industry Reacts to Pandemic Problems, Resources for Freelancers and Ways to Help

The world is currently undergoing dramatic and rapid changes. As the industry finds ways to adapt to major upheavals due to coronavirus, we want to keep you informed, supported and aware of resources. Below we have compiled relevant news articles as well as information on how to help and where to receive help if you need it.

News

In a video uploaded to YouTube, India’s Minister of Textiles appealed to foreign buyers and buying houses. Instead of canceling orders, Minister Smriti Irani urges businesses to practice “commerce with compassion” and work with suppliers to support India’s textile industry. For companies struggling to pay, Ms. Irani advises that “delivering schedules can be reworked, payment plans can be extended.” [YouTube]

Giorgio Armani has begun making protective gear for health workers at all three of their production facilities. The designer, who in his youth wanted to pursue medicine, has donated 2 million euros to hospitals and institutions in Italy. [WWD].

Meanwhile in the US, Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond has pledged $50,000 to help small businesses currently in distress and the brand’s NYC office has been turned into a donation center for medical masks and gloves. [Instagram]

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Things may be looking up, according to Gucci CEO Marco Bizzari, who stated that in Mainland China there is a new “propensity to shop.” [WWD]

Apparently that economic optimism is grounded in fact, as some American companies in China report that their operations are back to normal. In a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, a fifth of businesses said they expect to return to pre-coronavirus operations by the end of April–though another fifth expect that it will take at least until summer before things go back to normal. [Reuters]

At W Magazine the turbulence continues. Offloaded by Conde Nast last year to Future Media Group, the title is now struggling to survive thanks to the economic impact of coronavirus. According to Marc Lotenberg, Future Media Group’s chief executive, “the bottom has dropped out of the luxury market.” The publication’s June issue has been postponed indefinitely. [NYT]

A special edition of Elle France has been dedicated to frontline emergency and health workers. The cover, which depicts doctors and nurses, was created by French illustrator and longtime Elle contributor Soledad Bravi. [Instagram]

 

Leading trend forecaster Li Edelkoort has predicted that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to “a quarantine of consumption” and create an opportunity for brands and consumers to take stock and create a better system. [Dezeen]

In the meantime, luxury brand Bottega Veneta has initiated a virtual artist residency program to keep creativity flowing and artists supported. Creative director Daniel Lee explained, “In this highly distressing time, we feel a responsibility to […] ignite a sense of joy and hope in our community and beyond.” [i-D]

How To Help

With NYC hospitals reporting widespread shortages of proper protective personal equipment for frontline healthcare workers, NYC Makers a coalition of 10 NYC makerspaces has teamed up to make and distribute PPE for healthcare professionals. NYC vs. COVID is their fundraiser to help them make and donate protective medical gear to healthcare workers.

Those who wish to help out but are short on cash can instead make and donate masks to Masks4Medicine.

You can also volunteer or donate (or both!) at Simply The Basics, which provides hygiene necessities to America’s homeless population and people in need. While you’re at it, donate or volunteer at Invisible Hands, a delivery service for at-risk community members.

And for an immediate impact consider donating to Coffee to the Front Lines a group of volunteer chefs and caterers delivering coffee and food to frontline health workers in NYC.

Resources

The NY Times breaks down the US government’s stimulus package and what relief Americans might be able to receive, notably, freelancers will be newly eligible for unemployment benefits. Meanwhile in the UK, the government has offered an aid package to the self-employed. IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has details on finding financial help if you are a British freelancer or self-employed. The British Arts Council has an emergency fund too.

Format has created The Photographer Fund to help freelance photographers impacted by COVID-19.

Buzzfeed News has tips and financial advice for freelancers. CNBC gives 5 tips for freelancers coping with crises and the Freelancers Union has the Freelance 101 guide with resources and advice.

Those at home with some free time and the desire to expand their businesses should take a look at Coronavirus Homework. Check out the Remote Work Survival Kit to help you stay productive. If you’re figuring out how to adapt your work to the living room try 7 steps to move your work online.

Parents now balancing working at home with homeschooling children can find an activity guide at School Closures.

If you’re a business owner trying to handle managing staff remotely take a look at LinkedIn’s Coronavirus Remote Working advice.

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your mental health. The AFSP has advice on how to cope when facing uncertainty. There’s also Virus Anxiety and crowdsourcing ideas for keeping loneliness at bay during isolation.

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