Los Angeles is home to some of the country’s preeminent brands, retailers and domestic apparel and footwear manufacturers. But like the rest of the fashion sector, the City of Angels is suffering from store shutdowns and halted supply chains in the wake of COVID-19.
Sourcing Journal spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at his coronavirus briefing Friday to gauge his input on how the industry can weather the storm financially—and still remain connected with the city’s millions of homebound constituents and shoppers.
“My grandfather was a tailor, and that’s part of the reason I’m here today was because of the opportunities this city afforded him in the apparel industry,” Garcetti said. “And we have to make sure we don’t lose those jobs, and lose them permanently.”
The Mayor’s office recently partnered with sustainable stalwart Reformation on LA Protects, an initiative that has mobilized the city’s brands and manufacturers to produce five million non-medical masks for workers providing essential services through the crisis.
The program has engaged manufacturers and brands that might otherwise have had to furlough their employees for the foreseeable future.
LA Protects was a first step toward engaging the industry in new opportunities that will allow it to remain open, Garcetti said.
“I hope that as we look at the new places that we will open up and the rules that we write, that this can be one of the first industries that can get back to work,” he added. The mayor said it was imperative to get the industry’s low-wage workers, who are “really hurting,” back to their stations.
“Know that it really is a priority for us to save this industry and get it back on its feet quickly,” he said.