#AThread4Cause: Arab Fashion Council urges Dubai designers to produce protective clothing in Covid-19 fight

The council has teamed up with Dubai Health Authority to help local labels create masks and gowns in their workshops

ROSARIO, ARGENTINA - APRIL 08: A volunteer sews at a textile workshop producing face masks on April 08, 2020 in Rosario, Argentina. After stopping their usual production due to the lock down to halt spread of COVID-19, textile company SONDER turned to make protective gear. They receive fabrics and other elements from local authorities and then employees volunteer making face masks to be donated to those who need them. They produce around 4,200 units per day. President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez unofficially announced that social obligatory isolation will be extended beyond April 12.   (Photo by Luciano Bisbal/Getty Images)
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Runways may be quieter than ever, but the Arab Fashion Council is on a mission to get designers’ ateliers buzzing once again – and all for a good cause.

The council, which promotes regional talent on a global stage, has called upon local designers to make protective clothing to be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Under the banner #AThread4Cause, this new move brings together the AFC and Dubai Health Authority, helping designers make protective face masks, gowns and hoodies that comply with the authority’s safety standards. In addition, regional perfume makers will be able to start producing hand sanitiser under the initiative.

“We are in this together, and we will be out of it together,” says Jacob Abrian, founder and chief executive of the Arab Fashion Council. “#AThread4cause is a very inspiring and heartwarming initiative that demonstrates how the fashion industry goes beyond showcasing a beautiful collection, and extends its talent in supporting the community in times of need.

“We are very proud and grateful of our Arab fashion industry members who are committed to giving back to their community and joining hands in such a creative force.”

Although this is the first campaign of its kind in this region, the fashion industry worldwide has been quick to mobilise its vast resources to help combat the virus. All across Europe and America, workshops and factories have stopped production of the latest trends and instead are mass-producing masks and protective clothing to help healthcare workers.

ROSARIO, ARGENTINA - APRIL 08: A volunteer sews at a textile workshop producing face masks on April 08, 2020 in Rosario, Argentina. After stopping their usual production due to the lock down to halt spread of COVID-19, textile company SONDER turned to make protective gear. They receive fabrics and other elements from local authorities and then employees volunteer making face masks to be donated to those who need them. They produce around 4,200 units per day. President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez unofficially announced that social obligatory isolation will be extended beyond April 12.   (Photo by Luciano Bisbal/Getty Images)

Louis Vuitton, Prada, Burberry and Chanel are some of the big names that have thrown their weight and expertise into the battle, putting the skill of their seamstresses into making protective garments, while industry giant LVMH was quick to use its perfume-making factories to make hand sanitiser.

All goods are being distributed to healthcare workers free of charge.

One of the first Dubai designers to get involved with the AFC initiative is Marmar Halim, who has put her signature glam dresses on hold to instead produce protective wear.

“Our fashion house and factory will be putting its resources at full capacity to produce medical gowns and surgical masks, proudly made in the UAE for the medical community front-liners fighting Covid-19,” she said in a statement.

“Special thanks to the Arab Fashion Council, which has given its support to make this project viable.”

Using what it calls an “emergency network” of Arab designers, the AFC is helping designers and their facilities make the switch to producing disposable wear, while adhering to stringent regulations.

With the goods to be distributed to the region’s healthcare workers, it is imperative that safety standards remain high. With the number of worldwide cases having surpassed 1.9 million, clearly the need for protective clothing looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

“The Dubai Health Authority is proud to endorse the Arab Fashion Council’s initiative, which highlights the strength of ‘made in the UAE’ and proves how Dubai is taking a leading role and all measures to provide safety to its citizens and residents,” Dubai Health Authority said in a statement.

“#AThread4Cause is a call-to-action initiative open to every Arab company in the fashion industry enabling them to show their love to their community.”

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