How Fashion Models Are Embracing the ‘New Normal’ As Industry Pauses Amid CCP Virus

April 25, 2020 Updated: May 20, 2020

The global outbreak of the CCP virus has imposed social distancing restrictions worldwide, leaving millions with no other choice but to self-isolate to curb the spread. The pandemic has also grimly impacted the entire industrial sector; even those in the fashion industry are bearing the brunt of the crisis.

However, in the face of such unprecedented disruption, many have learned to adapt and embrace this “new normal.”

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Monica Tomas, a New York-based model. (Courtesy of Brogan Chidley)

Fashion Industry Embracing the ‘New Normal’

Fashion brands such as Prada, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren have taken the approach of canceling or postponing upcoming shows in various countries for safety concerns amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, there have also been other brands and organizers that have made use of technology to continue with their fashion shows. For instance, Giorgio Armani was the first fashion designer to cancel his show and change it to a live stream instead. More recently in April 2020, the organizers of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Moscow chose to go ahead with their show by organizing it on a digital space, according to a press release.

Monica Tomas, a New York-based model, told The Epoch Times in an email interview that despite the industry coming to a standstill, she has seen “models, photographers, and many others from the industry creating content within the confines of home with what is available and trying to be inventive and innovative with it.”

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Monica Tomas, a New York-based model. (Courtesy of Adhiraj Chakrabarti)

“The industry has been showing support in every way they can and bringing people together through their interactions and content they create,” said Monica, who has walked the runways for international shows such as New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week, and who has modeled for global beauty brands such as Mac, Sephora, and Estee Lauder.

Monica’s mother agency in India, Anima Creative Management, has since been doing the same as the agency ended their last shoot on March 15, 2020.

Mark Luburic, the director of the company, originally from Australia, said the firm recently started an Instagram online story project called “Don’t distance yourself mentally,” where talents are asked to share a one-minute video on how they are using their newfound time effectively, in turn, inspiring others and creating a positive vibe.

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Mark Luburic with his business partner and wife, Gunita Stobe. (Courtesy of Mark Luburic)

With the company representing over 50 models with some of them based in New York, Paris, London, and Milan, there have been “all sorts of great little stories,” Mark said. These stories range from feeding stray animals to finding new hobbies and passions such as dancing or painting and meditating.

Meditation Helps Cope With the Pandemic

Monica is one model who has been using her free time to practice an ancient spiritual meditation called Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was introduced in China in 1992. Within the next five years, the self-improvement practice of mind and body attracted an estimated 70 million to 100 million people before the CCP launched a brutal crackdown in July 1999 that led to numerous practitioners being imprisoned and tortured.

Monica said the practice, which is based on the tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, has helped her to remain calm and contented.

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Monica Tomas practicing the fifth set of Falun Gong exercises indoors. (Courtesy of Monica Tomas)

In recent years, people have been turning to meditation and holistic approaches to relieve their stress. Mark and some of his talents credit Falun Gong for helping them cope with the drastic life changes brought out by the pandemic.

With the fashion industry’s current situation where clients are reluctant to make their payments, there is not much work to be done apart from online scouting, updating portfolios, and client databases. Taking all these challenges head-on, Mark’s company is trying hard to not disrupt the payment of employees’ wages.

Despite the struggle, Mark said practicing Falun Gong has taught him to maintain a more optimistic outlook on life. “I have really learned to look at every situation in a positive light and to understand that there are greater forces at play,” Mark said, “and that there is a causal relationship to everything that happens.”

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Mark Luburic practicing the fifth set of Falun Gong exercises indoors. (Courtesy of Mark Luburic)

Sumaya Hazarika, a model from Anima Creative who has appeared in editorial shoots for fashion magazines such as Harpers Bazaar and Vogue, agrees with Mark.

“There is no point in getting anxious and worried,” said Sumaya, who started practicing Falun Gong in 2017. “Things will anyway unfold as they are meant to. What matters is how we use this time to understand and interact with ourselves.”

Sumaya added that this is not the time to “let the negativity take over the minds.”

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Sumaya Hazarika, an Indian-based model. (Courtesy of Adhiraj Chakrabarti)

Amid the unprecedented crisis that has enveloped the world, Monica, who echoes a similar sentiment to Sumaya, advised that the path we need to follow is “staying positive and committed to bringing change from within and to rise above this adversity fearless and with strength.”

‘Hold the CCP Accountable’

Though Mark believes that it is important for people to reflect on the way they are living and to nurture more compassion for each other and for the planet, he hopes that everyone will also realize that the communist regime should be held accountable for the pandemic that first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and subsequently spread quickly to the world. Recent media reports suggest that the CCP is covering up on the official confirmed cases and deaths figures.

“It’s time to make a conscious stance, and stand on the right side of humanity and hold the CCP accountable for all the evils it has instilled on the people of the world,” Mark said.

Mark added that big corporations and governments that have turned a blind eye to the persecutions that are happening in China, such as jailing human rights lawyers, House Christians, Uyghurs Muslims, Falun Gong adherents, and Tibetan Buddhists, should also be held accountable.

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Sumaya Hazarika practicing the fifth set of Falun Gong exercises indoors. (Courtesy of Mark Luburic)

“Edmund Burke once said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.’ I believe it’s time for the world to make a stance for the sake of humanity,” Mark said.