As consumers prioritize safety in light of the global pandemic, fashion designers are pivoting to appeal to changing demands. Enter a new kind of apparel that’s designed with style and safety in mind.
When the pandemic hit earlier this year, no one could have predicted the impact on fashion. When it comes to trends, face masks quickly became the must-have fashion accessory of 2020—as in, “you must have a face mask to enter.”
As consumer needs shift, fashion startups are anticipating a renewed emphasis on performance and protection. While companies like 3M have been manufacturing items like safety coveralls and masks for decades, today’s startups are unveiling a new genre of clothing designed for consumers who want an extra layer of protection without sacrificing style.
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PPA—that’s Personal Protective Apparel—is clothing designed with safety in mind.
For example, the VForce collection is a line of copper-infused jackets that come in a variety of styles—from a poncho to versatile coats. The material is infused with copper, which is known to have antiviral properties. The V-Force press release claims the jackets kill 99.9% of microorganisms like bacteria and viruses within 30 minutes. PPA—that’s Personal Protective Apparel—is clothing designed with safety in mind. The emerging apparel category is a trend to watch in a retail economy that has otherwise come screeching to a halt (save for sweatpants).
Protective equipment of all kinds harkens back to our primal relationship with clothing—that is, as a second skin to protect us from external environments. Throughout history, humans have augmented available materials to adapt to their surroundings. A hard surface attached to the bottom of our feet protects our soft skin from rocks so we can hunt, gather, etc.
PPA harkens back to our primal relationship with clothing—that is, as a second skin.
Another trend we’ve been following on Electric Runway is the rise of digital fashion. You can learn more about it here, but the gist of it is that games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing are grooming a new generation of digital citizens to express themselves online, which diminishes the need for an abundance of material things. Both the rise of digital fashion and the emergence of PPA point towards a move away from fast fashion, which has been the ghost looming over the industry for at least the last 25 years. With a renewed focus on survival and the reality of a harsh, challenging climate, consumer’s priorities are shifting, and so, too, is our clothing.