04 May Covid-19’s health crisis begins its “downscaling” phase. What’s next?
With the health crisis created by the Covid-19 and its resulting declaration of the State of Emergency by the Spanish Government, our company was forced to completely stop its customer-facing activities from the very beginning, over 6 weeks ago.
“And it was a right thing to do! The health of our clients as well as our team is what is most important!”
1. How did we get here?
MOMU&CO is a firm that designs and produces fashion accessories, and its activity is predominantly realised in our atelier –open to the public– situated in el Born neighbourhood in Barcelona.
In times as these, in which hundreds of thousands of people have got ill and tens of thousands have died, and with the population confined at home to protect themselves from this pandemic, fashion is the last one of people’s priorities. This is normal, I should say correct to be so! In the end, when people’s health and life are at stake, priorities must be readjusted and what really matters must come first.
There is no doubt that this state of confinement has had and will have a devastating effect on the world’s economy, and Spain will be no exception. At the same time, it is undeniable that some industries have been hit a lot harder than others. Without having official data at hand, we believe not to be far from the truth by stating that, after tourism, fashion and retail are the second hardest struck industries in this crisis.
We do not intend to make a value judgement on this matter. We simply want to highlight some facts, which are undeniable.
On the other hand, and luckily, the health crisis is being slowly overcome, and the number of people contracting the disease is lower than the number of people finally healing from it. The Spanish government is therefore preparing the “de-escalation” phases for the confinement measures in order to go back to a state of normality.
As such, it is time to look forward and prepare ourselves to face the sequels of this pandemic.
2. The post-Covid-19 society
Journalists and politicians have often said over and over that society after the pandemic won’t be the same as before. We in MOMU&CO hope they’re right, at least partially.
We aren’t referring to things like social distance, hygiene and personal protection. On the contrary, we hope to get back to that awesome habit of embracing and kissing each other when we greet or say goodbye, and to regain that close contact that soothe the soul of every human being so much. Likewise, we hope not to fear socializing, traveling, getting to know, experimenting and interchanging experiences with other people and cultures.
The change that we in MOMU&CO hope to see in the post-Covid-19 society is above all the understanding our real place, as a living species, in the Ecosystem that represents our planet.
In this century alone, Nature has given clear signs of its capacity of radically disrupt the life of thousands of human beings in just a few moments:
- Indian Ocean’s Tsunami in 2004
- Avian Influenza in 2005
- Hurricane Katrina in 2005
- Cyclone Nargis in 2008
- Swine Flu in 2009
- Japan’s Tsunami in 2011
- Ebola in 2014
- And now Covid-19
We can add to these the Earth’s Global Warming Effect caused by Human Being’s activity. All these events emphasize a reality that many government leaders and a good part of humanity are not yet ready to accept:
Nature controls Human Beings, and not the other way around!
It is true that Human Beings, through our daily activities, have caused notable changes in the Ecosystem’s balance of our planet and Global Warming has been, until recently, the effect which has received the most mediatic attention. Yet, this fact does not change the reality that we just stated, and Covid-19 is a new demonstration of that.
Nevertheless, Nature has also shown and constantly proves its capacity of regeneration and overcoming the destructive effects of human activity. It was last year’s news that 30 years after Chernobyl’s catastrophe wildlife has thriven in the so called “Exclusion Zone”. In this area it has been proven the increased numbers of animal species which were in grave risk of extinction like the European Buffalo or wolves.
In these days Social Networks are rich with videos of wild animals freely ‘taking a stroll’ in the street of numerous cities around the world, left deserted because of the confinement to which we have seen ourselves forced to.
The main issue that we in MOMU&CO endorse is that Human Beings have to change our concept of the roll we play in relation with our natural environment and the Ecosystem in general.
It is not about “controlling” the Ecosystem, rather we have to learn how to adjust to it!
3. A “new” economic model
This change necessarily needs to translate into a new economic model that must prevail all over the planet. In MOMU&CO we support the Circular Economy model as the best, maybe the only way, for Mankind to finally learn to coexist with Nature.
We do not intend to give any lesson on economics. There are other much better qualified sites, whether offline or online, to explain more thoroughly the advantages this economic model offers.
What we do want to highlight in this post, is that this model rehabilitates in part concepts that guided the world’s economy before the industrial revolution, and the consumerism that came after as a consequence.
The exploitation of natural resources in a sustainable way for current generations and the future ones.
We do not criticize industrialization and the technological progresses that came with it. On the contrary, we support them! Provided they are focused on re-establishing the balance with Earth’s Ecosystem. The Circular Economy model intends to use technology precisely to re-establish that balance.
4. MOMU&CO’s values
As we mentioned before, in MOMU&CO we produce fashion accessories, but the products we offer are merely the ‘material and tangible’ result of values that guide our entire business model. Values that are based in:
- Craftmanship: the value of a handmade product, with dedication and skill, that give each product characteristics which make it unique, different from the others; in comparison with big industrialized production series.
- Natural raw materials: using raw materials from natural origins, respecting the environment and, thus, with as little as possible intervention of chemical processes.
- Recycling: using recycled raw materials, contributing to waste reduction.
- A simple yet different design: achieving uniqueness of our products through simplicity, in order to maintain their timelessness; as such we avoid the evanescent aspect of fashion strictly speaking and make our designs ageless.
- Local production: the artisan aspect or our products implies keeping raw materials as well as a production nearby, to allow a strict quality control, but also to promote cooperation with businesses and artisans of our surroundings.
- A network of collaboration: we intend to promote collaboration with other artisans, designers and creators, also from other industries, in order to shape together new ideas and implementations that lead to new products.
5. A network economic model
We believe that this last aspect, particularly in moments like the ones we will be facing in the next future, takes a special significance. MOMU&CO is oriented and dedicated to promoting such collaborations with other artisans, designers, artists and businesses that share our same values and have the ‘handmade’ as main feature of their creations.
It is about creating synergic relationships to be of mutual benefit, and which contribute to mutual strengthening of our businesses. We do not want to restrain this network of relationships to the fashion industry, on the contrary, we want to expand it to other crafts like art, painting, sculpture or… even winery which, although at first may not seem related, may share values and from the cooperation new and interesting ideas and projects may be born. This is the MOMU&CO Club.
These collaborations extend to all stakeholders of our business: our team of workers, providers, contractors, consultants and, of course, to our clients.
This way, in MOMU&CO we want to stimulate local/national economy, within the principle of proximity supply, and with the purpose of fostering the creation of networks of small and medium enterprises which, through their commercial cooperation, serve their market.
It’s a little like the idea that gave birth to the internet in its first days: interconnect a series of servers among them so that, in case one them should fail, the information could keep flowing within the network.
As a matter of fact, we are convinced that these networks of enterprises is one of the most effectives ways to strengthen the industrial infrastructure of a nation, and consequently, to achieve a stable economical growth.
6. What do we do now?
Given all these premises, the answer is quite obvious:
MOMU&CO encourages everyone, being our clients or not, to support these networks of businesses!
It is in fact already happening, in part. We have seen examples when people prefer to go and buy their groceries to the local shop, delicatessen or butcher, instead of going to a supermarket.
We encourage you to do the same in the “de-escalation” phase, as well as in the “new normality”, as the Spanish government calls them. Let’s support the local independent retailer, let’s value the artisans’ work and talent, in all their expressions. But above all, let’s be sensible consumers and support all initiatives focusing on the circular economy.
What’s more, we’d like to inspire you to be active agents of this circular economy, by paying much attention to how we purchase
and how we then handle our waste!
We must promote, in our daily actions, the reestablishment of a balance between society and the Ecosystem that surrounds us and determines our destiny as a species.