Social Distancing Can't Stop Fashion

How Social Distancing Is Affecting Fashion

Originally Published April 29, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID) sent an email to town residents that stated:

New Jersey announced Executive Order No. 107 on Saturday, March 21, 2020, effective at 9:00 p.m., containing new standards for businesses which supersede previous announcements,” stated by the NJ Executive Order and proceeds to say “Non-essential retail businesses must close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises operations while Executive Order 107 is in effect. Business may continue any on-line operations.”  

The Montclair Center BID is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization established in 2002 by the local business community representing over 300 retailers and restaurants along Bloomfield Ave and nearby adjacent streets. This information immediately hit hard for many of the local businesses, forcing them to either adapt to the change and figure out alternative ways to selling products, or just closing down and waiting until the state gives the okay to open back up again. Creative Director and Founder, Mars Hoffa, founded the clothing store, TRAPART, located in Irvington and Newark, NJ, where he sells customized socks, t-shirts, hats, shorts, and hoodies. Hoffa explained how “the state says that there are loans that we can get as business owners to help us financially but there is always some kind of criteria that we don’t fit.” Hoffa finishes to say, “The money is there but it’s very hard to access, or they say that it’s just a loan, but at this time you’re looking for a grant not a loan, because you’re not trying to dig yourself into a deeper hole.”

Even though stores had to be shut down, that has not slowed down business for some retail owners that continue to sell online. Arlinda Mclntosh, who owns Sofistafunk, (which is a By Appointment only boutique in New Jersey) was able to tell her perspective on this issue. Her business is still thriving because she continues to be able to maintain selling her products online. Mclntosh explains how her brand started online and continued to be online, which must have been such a blessing in a time like this. Sofistafunk did have a shift in the products it was starting to focus more on, masks. Before the masks she was selling custom skirts, dresses, tops and pants. “If you already were online and you already had an audience, things did shift because people are no longer wearing clothes that they would wear out to a party or to an event,” Mclntosh states. So, what does this mean for fashion going forward? In a time like this where we’ve had to adjust to doing things in a more virtual setting, many people have been thinking about how fashion needs to change. Should fashion adjust into starting to do things in a more virtual setting or if things should still stay the same, post Corona. Being stuck in the quarantine, creatives have really been able to sit with their thoughts and really think about how or if their brand needs to start doing some real changes to be able to keep up for what’s to come in the future.   

To learn more about businesses in the Montclair Township community, visit

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