JUST female looks back at the 12 months marked by COVID-19, and seek inspiration in a small denim manufacturer in Portugal.
As the pandemic spread across Europe in the spring of 2020, the little factory in Portugal suffered too. With an invisible enemy all around, keeping the daily production running did not feel safe, so the business was forced to close for a while.
“One day, after so many days of listening to the news about missing protection materials in our hospitals, I decided to talk with our people because we can help. All the employees wanted to, so in a few days we were producing protection masks to our hospitals in the local area.” – Carla, manufacturer owner
Forsaking the paid manufacturing consignments in order to help their local community, the entire workforce of the factory fought together to provide essential protective equipment for the fight against something bigger than themselves, because the health of the local community is vital to the health of the business.
They have since returned to their normal production as the hospitals were able to restore their stock of protective equipment but stand ready should the necessity arise as Europe currently suffers under a second and seemingly much larger wave of the pandemic this winter.
"It has been inspiring to see how all the employess took responsibility and worked so hard to helt their local community through such tought times. It is a factory with 80% women staff, so many households economic wellbeing is dependant on the survival of the production. This is why it was so special to se them stop their peid work for the good for their community." Nadia Cerri, designer
COVID-19 is not the only hurdle the factory has survived within the past few years. Their high work moral is also mirrored in how they tackled the finansial crisis in 2008 and a larger fire that destroyed their buildings, machines and textiles in 2013. You can read much more on their struggles here.
JUST female were in May 2020 forced to resign over 50% of their staff, but has since enforced their team by two, in order to keep up at the little office in Copenhagen.
Images from the factory, October 2020.