Out the back of Christchurch’s Fashion Society shop at The Tannery, sewing machines are humming, busy producing winter wool coats paired with a matching face mask.
Normally, they would be producing slink jackets to dispatch to the many tourist shops they wholesale too. But, with the borders shut due to Covid-19, that market has dried up.
But Fashion Society, which also has a retail shop in Merivale and is owned by Abbey Dickson, was prepared.
“We speak regularly with tourist shops. Shops in Queenstown knew in late November that it was going to hit hard, some of them are operated by Chinese who knew just how bad it was in Wuhan,” says managing director Chris Fuller.
“We had the upper hand back then, so we changed tact quite fast to be able to get the material and what we needed before lockdown.”
So, during Level 4 lockdown, Fashion Society’s two designers were busy creating two new wool coats and, when the factory reopened, it was straight into production.
The offcuts of the ‘Emily’ long wool coat and the ‘Rose’ shorter version have been created into matching face masks. The coats are available in camel, navy and black.
“With the inability to wholesale our normal coats we have had to put attention on garments we can predominately sell ourselves. Hopefully that will be enough to keep our factory alive and running,” says Chris.
The coats are available online at fashionsociety.co.nz