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Edmonton’s Fashion Industry Was Feeling The Effects Of COVID-19 Weeks Before Alberta Had A Case

bamboo ballroom Edmonton store

By Karlie Mickanuik

Edmonton’s fashion scene primarily uses exports to get raw materials for clothing items, they were feeling the impact of the virus weeks before there were cases in Alberta.

With the pandemic the world is facing, exports of any kind have become more and more difficult to obtain. In an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 China froze it’s economy completely, stopping or slowing down all exports out of the country. While bigger corporations have been openly feeling the effects of the slowed exports from China, local Edmonton designers are feeling the same effects.

Alisha Schick is a fashion instructor for illustration and design at MC College in Edmonton and explains how the situation in China has become a challenge for her students to create and sew their designs.

“Well, as far as manufacturing goes, everything has been moved more so to China. Sourcing out for manufacturing has become a little more difficult because of that. Obviously, things are about to change because of what’s happening right now with the Coronavirus,” said Schick.

Schick says she remembers a time in the fashion industry of Edmonton where designers were getting their materials from local suppliers within the city and is challenging her students to do the same. She says she is looking on the bright side of the situation and says this is the fashion industry’s chance to support local distributors.

Christine Gsaprd is the manager of a local boutique in Edmonton called The Bamboo Ballroom. Gsaprd says designers who can no longer export from China due to the circumstances can push themselves to source locally.

“Make sure that it’s not coming from China and that it’s coming from different places which is gonna give a lot of local designers an opportunity for them to even push a little further too cause they also sometimes source their fabrics, buttons zippers from there. So we’re all going to have to come together to find somewhere new,” said Gsaprd.

With schools and workplaces being closed during this time and self isolation being recommended, people are going out and shopping less. Once these measures are no longer in place hopefully there will be an increase of support for local businesses including fashion.

“I think especially with the times that we’re in right now with China being shut down, we’re going to see a huge increase in local fashion and local production, from beginning to end,” said Gsaprd.

The fashion industry of Edmonton is turning the rise of COVID-19 into an opportunity to support local business and continue to grow the industry.

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