It was the right time for IFA Paris and le Secours Populaire (French Charity for people’s aid) to generate a maximum of actions together in a limited time!
From the French Pyreneans, Sandy Bontout lived in Dubai, Berlin and London and became a Parisian. She previously worked for Condé Nast and is now a lecturer and the program coordinator of the Bachelor Fashion Marketing at IFA Paris as well as a volunteer for le Secours Populaire. She contributed to the creation of a workshop within IFA Paris with the help of the City of Paris to make masks for the association and the Parisian hospitals. Interview.
Michel Temman: It has now been many times that IFA Paris and the Secours Populaire worked together. How was this collaboration between the school and the aid association born?
Sandy Bontout: Indeed, this is not the first time that IFA Paris and the Secours Populaire cooperate. IFA Paris already organized clothing drives for the association and in last November-December, before the Christmas tree, we organized within IFA Paris, a Father Christmas’s sack for underprivileged children.
Fabric mask production at IFA Paris
We collected around one hundred new toys for the children of the Secours Populaire, for which I volunteered for a year. Usually, I help children with their homework and helps during food drives.
This is how I met its secretary general Abdel Ghazi, who now knows IFA Paris pretty well. He knew we had machines, what’s needed to make clothes. This time, during the covid crisis he asked us whether we could help supplying masks. We positively replied to his request with the help of the City of Paris who provided a budget and delivered pre-cut fabric, straps and threads.
Fabric masks in stacks of 10
M.T.: You set up a mask making workshop in almost record time?
Sandy Bontout: It went quite fast indeed, with the pulse of Jean-Baptiste Andreani (Managing Director of IFA Paris’ Paris campus) who was really involved as well – he also produced face protective visors with our 3D printers for “Visières Solidaires”. With the Bachelor Fashion Desing 3rd year students, with also few lectures who volunteered as well and motivated students, we reorganized the sewing workshop. We started by assembling the masks by stacks of 10. Students used the knowledges they acquired throughout their studies and learnt well. We created an agenda on which students could enlist to the following days workshop. In 2 days, our first target was reached: produce 140 masks. Since then, we found a good rhythm and increased the production. Students are happy to feel useful. Especially after all this weeks in lockdown! The workshop also helps recreating human interaction.
M.T.: I believe Abdel Ghazi himself came to visit the workshop at IFA Paris, didn’t he?
Sandy Bontout: He did. He came to visit our sewing workshop in the Foundry, our fashion technology lab (2) with Jean-Baptiste Andréani and some managers of the city of Paris et the district that coordinate the operation.
Abdel Ghazi, Secretary General of the Secours Populaire visits IFA Paris
By the way, Foundry is a fashion technology lab on 400 square meters, the first of its kind in Paris. It is made of a coworking space, a technology workshop and a maker space fully equipped with the latest technology. It was important that Abdel Ghazi and the city of Paris came to make sure our masks where meeting the official quality criteria. Now that things are slowly coming back to normal, I am telling myself that it was really the good time for IFA Paris and the Secours Populaire to generate together the maximum of actions in a limited period of time. At IFA Pairs we also work on a sustainable fashion festival in which the Secours Populaire could take part. Because at IFA Paris fashion environmental responsibility – upcycling, sharing and solutions helping to make the fashion industry more virtuous – is a topic we take seriously and we teach our students.
Fabric mask production at IFA Paris
M.T.: IFA Paris was very involved during the epidemic crisis. What new measures did you take on campus?
Sandy Bontout: We mainly worked on the sanitary aspects. We put on some line-markers. In our workshop I put on duct tape every 4 square meters around each machine! We created a road map so that everybody understands his itinerary. Hydro-alcoholic gel and gloves are at disposal almost everywhere… We lived and still do a weird time. It is quite bizarre to see all these people wearing masks in the streets. It is not in the European and French culture at all whereas in Asia, people are less tactile and look at each other differently. It feels like we are in a movie!