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COVID-19: How the Denim Industry Is Responding to the Global Pandemic

COVID-19 is bringing the global denim industry together, as companies from across the world share messages of support for colleagues, clients and even competitors.

Denim Première Vision, which is set to take place June 10-11 in Milan—where people have been on a coronavirus lockdown since March 8—released a statement on its website expressing support for individuals in the denim industry and their families.

“We understand that the current context makes it extremely difficult to create, manufacture and market collections, and poses challenges for all of our business,” the trade show wrote.

Première Vision has not made any announcement regarding the June event, but it is said to be “closely monitoring the coronavirus situation.”

Trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops is offering its service to help reignite brands’ creative processes. The company is heeding specific requests from its partners and is said to be implementing additional services.

In an email, Fashion Snoops founder Lilly Berelovich urged the industry to use this moment as a catalyst for change. “If you share this sentiment and are ready to come together as a community and transform this fear into fuel, please join us,” she wrote. “It will be up to all of us to use this very humbling moment to enact real change—not just temporarily, but permanently.”

On Tuesday, Fidelity Denim founder and creative director Jason Trotzuk and general manager Holly Lemckert sent an email Tuesday notifying clients that most of the company has begun to work from home. Only the most essential team members remain on site to ensure production and order fulfillment continue as usual.

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“We understand many of you are closing your doors at this time and are concerned about current and future orders. We will work with you in any way possible to mitigate cancellations at this time. We will immediately be halting all shipping at this time and reviewing the status of all pending orders on April 1 to determine the best course of action for all of us,” the company stated in the email.

And many companies are taking to social media to share their status.

On Instagram, denim mill Evlox said it is still operating and has “organized ourselves, using all the resources and tools we have available to work effectively and safely.” The mill assured that it will stay in contact with its clients as the pandemic unfolds.

As of Monday, the House of Gold team in Los Angeles has been worked remotely, yet remains committed to providing full-service communication. “Nothing has changed except for face-to-face meetings,” the company wrote on Instagram. Clients can reach the company over phone and video conferencing, and can continue to request hangers.

On Instagram, Artistic Milliners shared how the company is taking precautionary steps at its facilities by providing thermal scanning of all employees, providing masks and hand sanitizer and offering flexible work options.

“It’s ever more important to take a collaborative approach to fight this virus,” the company wrote. “While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, let’s endeavor to stay calm, practice kindness, compassion, mindfulness, stay safe, help others stay safe, and most importantly wash our hands as often as possible.”

Likewise, Naveena said it is working closely with all relevant authorities and adapting precautionary measures. The company’s on-site medical services are providing daily updates about prevention, as well as hand sanitizer, thermal scanning and flexible schedules.

“The COVID-19 epidemic is a complicated situation that required concerted efforts and solidarity among everyone,” the mill wrote. “Let’s be kind. Let’s be gentle. Let’s be generous.”

In London, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers encouraged its Instagram followers to “support local businesses and thank those who are still offering their time and services.”

The brand’s store in London’s Coal Drop Yards remains open. “Bring in those jeans that might need repairing or come in for a chat if you’re able to,” the company wrote on Instagram. “We’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure our members of staff are able to give you the best service with hygiene top of our priorities.”

Tellason echoed that sentiment. The brand closed its headquarters in Sausalito, Calif., and its factory in San Francisco, but urged followers to support their favorite retailers by shopping online. “They’ll definitely need your support while their doors are closed,” the brand wrote on Instagram. “Many are offering free shipping and/or local delivery.”

Customer service continues to be a priority for L.A. stalwart American Rag Cie. On Instagram, the company wrote that it will be closing its doors to the public until March 27. However, a small staff is available to assist customers who would like to shop the store by appointment only. American Rag said it plans to keep these groups to under 10 people, per government guidelines.

Denham the Jeanmaker, which closed all of its stores on Monday, took to Instagram to notify shoppers that its online business is operating as usual and that the company has everyone’s health in mind. “We are working with our logistic partners to ensure they are taking the correct precautions to be safe,” the brand wrote.

DL1961 closed its corporate and regional offices late last week. In an Instagram post, CEO Zahra Ahmed encouraged clients to stay in contact. “We’re available online and via phone and email to answer any questions you may have,” she wrote. “We are working closely with our third-party fulfillment partners to ensure they’re taking the proper precautions with their teams and facilities.”

Tonello suspended the rollout of its new project, “Tonello: The Series,” a five-part web series that pulls back the curtain on laundry and finishing technology. “Let’s take a break from advertising campaigns: respect and people always come first. We will be back soon,” the Italian company wrote on Instagram.

And though Project’s next event isn’t slated to take place until July 19-21 in New York City, the trade show organizer stated that it is paying close attention to recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On Instagram, Project wrote: “At this time of global uncertainty, the health, well-being, and safety of all of our visitors is our top priority. Please know that we are continually monitoring developments and closely following the WHO and national/local public health official guidance.”

Check back for updates.