Depending on how much time away from work you’ve had the last few months, you may be more than ready to get back into the thick of things. But in the Fashion Industry, one key component could present a challenge when staying socially distant to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Fittings are the place where a Designer can really see their ideas come to life, and are crucial to the prototyping process. We sat down with Patternmaker Xochil Herrera Scheer to figure out some guidelines for keeping people safe in the Fitting Room.
Who’s in the Room?
Having a lot of people in a small space is definitely something to stay away from right now. So you should try to keep it to a minimum of three people: the fit model, the patternmaker, and either an assistant or the designer. That third person should, from 6 feet away, be the dedicated note and picture taker (and possibly video). This limits the amount of people who have to be in close contact. And video could be shared later with anyone who isn’t in the room during the fitting (or possibly video conference them in).
Even though a fitting is by nature something you do in close proximity, trying to maintain social distance when possible throughout the session is also helpful. The person who is assigned to be the notetaker/photographer can be seated 6+ feet away from the fitting area. Keep an open fitting area where the designer and pattern maker can step back away from the model easily.
Face coverings are a must for everyone, but it looks like face shields (like this one from locals Mohop shoes) could be adequate protection especially during the short time in fittings that two people are in close proximity. On top of that it allows all parties to clearly articulate in conversation. Your face shield must come down below your chin, and wrap around the sides to make sure that you are covered properly. (You’re even safer if you wear a face mask under the shield.)
Ideally, there would also be a separate changing area for the model, so that they don’t have to use public restrooms, etc. [If you are in need of a fitting space with a separate changing area, the AIBI Fashion Lab is available with a Day Pass.]
Keep things like hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and alcohol wipes (for cleaning the face shields) easily accessible. Disinfect door knobs, tables and other surfaces before and after the fitting.
It’s best to also set aside pins and a pincushion separate from your usual supplies. This way you can quarantine them between fittings. Remember, “the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.”
A pin cushion or magnetic pin holder that can be worn on your wrist is really helpful so that you’re not having to search for your supplies and again reducing unnecessary contact. Many of us are used to holding pins in our mouths (a very bad habit even before this!), in lieu of a “third hand”, so keeping them on yourself makes the process go more smoothly.
It seems likely that the Corona virus can also be killed with very high heat, you may also want to steam the garments before and after being fitted to reduce the risk of spreading disease to the model and anyone who must handle or stitch the garment after the fitting.
You can download these suggestions in PDF Handout form, as well.