Images: The Emergency Designer Network's Phoebe English in her studio
Collaboration is the red thread through each of the designers’ pre-pandemic careers. To cite just a few examples: Bethany won the Queen Elizabeth II Award last year, an honour recognising community values and sustainable practice. Holly spoke about the partnerships that she works on with her namesake brand, while Cozette became known in the industry through her maverick, much-loved knitwear brand, Sibling, co-founded and run with Sid Bryan and Joe Bates. Finally, Phoebe, who founded her label in 2011, is determined to share her sustainability contacts and knowledge industry-wide, founding the renowned WhatsApp group, 'Fashion On Earth', which shares everything from supplier contacts to current debate between designers, press and industry leaders. Another takeaway which encapsulates this group, and all of our lives in lockdown: Bethany and Holly have never actually met in real life! Yet the group rapport and dynamism made the webinar as inspiring as it was insightful.
Over the past months, the four designers have come together to create a framework of positivity; demonstrating the power of friendship and collaboration within the industry. Originally, the team planned to work with 10 designers, but they now have over 150 coming together and have created 6,700 (and counting!) sets of scrubs.
"One thing that we had as a real sort of mission statement from start was that we wanted this to be a completely inclusive setup,” commented Holly. “It didn't matter if someone could make 20 sets of scrubs or 2000 sets of scrubs, there was still a position for them in the framework that we were creating, because as much as it's addressing a fundamentally urgent need within the NHS, it's also about generating positivity within our industry at a time where fashion is going to be quite profoundly affected by the current financial situation and the longer term landscape is going to be different."