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Black designers’ mask-making efforts promote Columbus fashion companies

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If everyone has to wear masks, some Columbus fashion designers believe there is no reason why people cannot look good while keeping everyone healthy.

But staying in fashion is only half the goal of the Slay Safe campaign, which saw six black designers in central Ohio create masks and see them produced by more than a dozen small businesses. belonging to minorities.

Yohannan Terrell, Executive Director of theColumbus Fashion Alliance, said the initiative is one of the nonprofit groups’ first projects and is a testament to its mission to support the growth of designers and fashion companies at the local level. The group also aims to help the city live up to its potential as one of the best destinations for the industry.

We are reinvesting more than $ 100,000 in the community, Terrell said. The money went to the designers, to the vendors, to the project managers. Provided resources, broke down barriers and created opportunities.

And look at the masks, they’re dope.

Thanks to Play Safe, the group has produced around 15,000 masks, of which 12,000 will be distributed free of charge in underserved neighborhoods with the help of its partner, Welcoming City, which helps new Americans find work. (The restwentonsale this month for $ 20 on the Alliances website.)

Read:Here are simple solutions to five common mask frustrations

Terrell, 43 and owner of a marketing company, said he started imagining how he and others could help rename Columbus to a city of fashion a few years ago, given that it has the third highest number of creators per capita, behind Los Angeles and New York. City. It is also home to various retail brands and is widely known as a test market.

Not that it always looks like a fashion hub, he said.

The connection with the rest of the city was not strong, fashion was not part of the culture, Terrell said. You wouldn’t come and say: It’s a city of fashion.

Columbus fashion designer Kevin Black and his intern Jovaughn Salaam sort the masks at the Idea Foundry in Franklinton.  Six different minority designers, including Black, created the masks for the Columbus Fashion Alliance.

He and others launched the Columbus Fashion Alliance about a year ago to usher in the next generation of fashion designers, provide an already established space to hone new skills and more effectively build an economy surrounding the industry. locally.

Then the pandemic struck, making the need to provide this help, financially and otherwise, to fashion designers and small businesses even more imperative.

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