After the lockdown comes the gradual reboot of the economy. After weeks and months of people staying inside to protect themselves from the virus, people just like you and us will have to go back to crowded places; and so with protection. Of course, a lot of retail stores have picked up on the trend of making protective cloth masks. Here at COCHIC, we saw face masks as much more than a trend. This post is about COCHIC’s story of the pandemic and how we bridged the gap between continents to innovate in the protective mask industry.
How did it get started?
Our CEO, Patrizia Angela Casubolo, is of Italian origins. As Italy was the epicenter of the European breakout of the novel coronavirus, she experienced the consequences of the pandemic very early. While her family lives in one of the most hit regions of Italy, the Lombardy with 14200 deaths, Patrizia’s mom asked her, “Why don’t you make reusable masks? You will need them sooner or later!”
In Lombardy, as people started going to work and living outside again since last week, wearing a cloth mask became mandatory and the same is expected to happen In Germany next week, where Patrizia’s brother lives.
With her strong feeling of wanting to do something to help, she decided to immediately buy surgical masks and offer them for free for her customer base. However, surgical masks cannot be worn for longer than 4 hours.
As COCHIC is a brand that promotes sustainability, she decided to follow her mom’s advice and discussed with her Italian suppliers to create something that could be worn multiple times, promoting a more sustainable approach to masks without compromising on health and safety.
The COCHIC team then started to educate themselves on the different fabrics and understand which ones to use and to avoid. We wanted to offer antibacterial fabrics but within our research, not many choices were optimal for the production of face masks and if bought here in Canada, the choices were pretty much polyester and made in China with crazy delivery delays.
We also checked out Quebec businesses but the fabrics were not necessarily comfortable and optimal to wear on the face. We figured we wanted cotton masks with ideally a certain percentage of elasthane for maximum comfort.
An opportunity for fundamental changes
We always wanted to hire local seamstresses from Quebec for our neckties. Until now, our patented ties were made in Italy with exclusive fabrics from Como, the birthplace of Italian silk. To this day, our collar extenders are made in Montreal, but not our other accessories. Through this project of making cloth masks, we hope to discover genuinely passionate people that love sewing and that would help COCHIC achieve its vision, grow as a community and bring the production of accessories entirely local.
At the moment of the writing of this blog post, we already found a handful of independent workers who love sewing who are looking for an income through sewing.
Here at COCHIC, passion and support are important values!
How are we making masks?
We organized a production system for masks with a team of passionate independent workers who love sewing. We contacted our fabric suppliers and targeted those with an expertise in medical fabrics, used and made for hospitals. They helped us decide what fabric we should use that is the most appropriate for protective cloth masks.
We integrated within our volunteer team people coming from Italy, Montreal, and anybody who was interested by our project and wished to participate in the production of COCHIC masks. We put in action our values: innovation, creativity, passion and willingness to create quality while assuring comfort and style.
Who’s involved in this project?
As we are trying to bridge the gap between continents and our people, we got our Italian and dutch friends helping us with fabrics, our Spanish friends helping us with custom made elastics with a minimum elasticity of 150%, our Quebec friends for the cut, finish, printing and production of the COCHIC masks. Finally, a whole team of passionate individuals offers us the best designs and collections that we are preparing for autumn and launching in July. A volunteer photographer is making the visuals of this project and anyone who wants to help or contribute are welcomed at COCHIC!
So why are we making masks, again?
Because we want to support each other, in Quebec and in Europe. But most importantly, because we are COCHIC!
Until then, we will catch you on the next blog post! If you liked this story, make sure to like the post and subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest COCHIC news and publication notifications. Have a very Cochic day!