Oh my stars, handbags and shoes, Fashion Friends... what a time we're in right now!  
We hope that this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Our current situation has resulted in drastic changes for so many people. Fashion designers, retailers, production companies and more, have felt the impact of the novel coronavirus and have had to adjust.

We're writing today to share some information and hope that some of you will be sparked to join us in action, motivated to see how you can get involved, or perhaps you'll just share with us what you're working on and how our community might best support you during this time.  
It's a little lengthy, but filled with important information. So grab your coffee/tea/wine, here goes...
1) If you work in or support the fashion industry, please know that your contribution matters. From those who design, sew and produce garments to those who own/work in the retails stores, production crews and more. Here's your impact: 
  • The State of Florida has over 200,000 retail establishments 
  • More than two million Floridians work in the fashion/retail industry 
  • The FL fashion/retail industry contributes more than $80 milion to direct GDP (gross domestic product) 
  • The domestic market value of the fashion industry is $400+ billion dollars 
  • And all of these people employ others for sales associates, production of fashion shows, etc. (This is not a stat, but it's true.)
You can view additional fashion/retail industry stats from the US Bureau of Labor & Statistics, National Retail Federation, and FashionUnited.
2) Why are we sharing stats? Because what you do, it matters. Not just to our industry, but to the State of Florida. And it's difficult to think about right now, but this year in November, we have an election. Your vote matters, too.

The founder of the Fashion Business Association of America, Beth Sobol (a leader in Florida's fashion industry) and Nancy Vaughn (creator of Tampa Bay Fashion Week and owner of fashion/lifestyle PR firm, White Book Agency), raised awareness around the industry's contributions and we hope that you'll join us in writing Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rick Scott to remind them: of YOUR work and contribution as a member of Florida's retail and fashion industry, and to include the industry when it comes to support and necessary resources that are needed during this time. You can message Senator Rubio's team here and Senator Scott's team here.

Let's share our voices and let others know the contributions the fashion/retail industry has made toward Florida's economy. 
3) Speaking of impact and making a difference, two fashion designers are making  providing masks to healthcare professionals and families across the country. As you all know, the CDC first recommended only healthcare workers and those who are vulnerable wear face masks, but   now they're recommending it for everyone in any public settings (which includes the grocery store, doctor's appointments, etc.)
So if you're in need of a face mask(s),  
you can contact Essence Flowers or Elizabeth Carson Racker.
Essence is currently accepting bulk orders (minimum of 10 or more).  
You can email her at: eflow1346@gmail.com, Subject Line: Face Masks Order
Elizabeth is currently accepting orders, and you can e-mail her at: designermask2020@gmail.com (Subject Line: Face Masks Order) or call: 813-344-2291 
4) Want to experiment with your design skills? Learn how to make your own masks, courtesy of: the CDC, USA Today and CNN.
Struggling to make these masks or don't have time?.. See bullet #3. 
5) Want to help? As we all practice social distancing ( you are distancing and helping to stop the spread, right?!?), some of you may be looking for ways to get involved and/or help.  
If you'd like to get involved in making masks or perhaps work behind-the-scenes in another capacity (e.g. taking orders for masks, customer service, etc.), some designers are looking for support. As requests for orders increase ~ the more hands on board, the better! So if you're interested, please fill out this form and we'll pass on your name/contact information to designers who are making masks.  
And finally, last but certainly not least, let us know how you're doing. Are there ways that we can support you during this time? Are you running specials for your business? Volunteering your time in the community? Want to do a virtual call with a designer or model? Let us know!

Stay safe, fashion lovers and we will survive (and thrive) through this together!

The Fashion Week Tampa Bay Team 
Sept. 23-26, 2020 
Follow Us Online!