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Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour partners with designer Tom Ford to help fashion industry through pandemic

Anna Wintour on fashion rescue fund
Anna Wintour on efforts to rescue the fashion industry 06:02

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is using her substantial platform to help the fashion industry weather the coronavirus crisis after the pandemic threw the U.S. economy into a tailspin. New research predicts global sales in the $2.5 trillion industry will drop up to 30%, while a large number of global fashion companies are expected to go bankrupt in the next 18 months. 

Wintour joined "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King over video chat to discuss her partnership with designer Tom Ford to create a fund called A Common Thread. The initiative aims to give "micro loans" to small businesses and designers whom Wintour calls "the future generation of American fashion."

Read a part of their conversation below:

Gayle King: Anna, I keep saying we are all forever changed by this, But let's focus specifically on the fashion industry. Because when we say fashion industry, it is so much more than the clothes that we wear, or going to a designer store. It's much bigger than that.

Anna Wintour: Absolutely, Gayle. I mean, obviously… behind every designer are seamstresses, pattern makers, embroiderers. There's a whole support system. When we were talking to Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand about the bailout for big businesses and small businesses, we came up with a number that the support system for the fashion industry equals 53 million jobs.

King: Let's let that sink in for a second. Because I think when most people think of the fashion industry, they think hoity and toity, and certainly doesn't apply to me. And that's just not true, is it?

Wintour: No. It applies to everybody and we are a community. And that is really what the little videos that we have out on and on CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America] are talking about.

It's this enormous part of our economy that is being decimated right now, and why we decided at the CFDA and Vogue to come together and really try and do something to help the way we did after September the 11th, when we launched the Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund. ... We decided that we would repurpose that, Gayle, to help the small businesses and the small designers within our community, because they are the future generation of American fashion. … We were so lucky to be given an inaugural grant of a million dollars by Ralph Lauren himself. I literally — I burst into tears. I mean, I just couldn't believe the generosity.

King: We talk about small business and brands that will probably be the hardest hit, at this particular time… are you worried about the new voices in fashion being left out?

Wintour: That was really, really the reason that we launched, or repurposed, a fashion fund into A Common Thread … we're going to be giving out what we call micro loans, like $5-, $10-, $15-, $20-, up to $100,000 just to try and help the ones that we feel need it the most… so that they can get through these next few months and be able to survive.

King: This has certainly been a pandemic of numbers. And I wanna throw this out at you. It says, a new report says… 80% of publicly listed fashion companies in Europe and North America will be in huge financial distress. Do you ever think this industry can go back to normal?

Wintour: We are actually hosting a Vogue global conversations next week over a four-day period, where we are going to talk about the future of the runway show. We're going to talk about the future of e-commerce… the future of creativity, and the future of retail… because there's no way we're going back to the way things were. I think, you know, a lot of us were talking a lot about sustainability, and the fact that we were all flying so much. And the shows were so big and so expensive… these issues, these really important issues are being thrust upon us in a much more significant and immediate way, and these are questions that everybody is asking.

King: You shared the story about your son, who is really one of the people on the front lines.

Wintour: So, so proud of my son. He's a doctor. And he is right back in the emergency room with the COVID wards right now.

King: Because he was sick for a while, wasn't he, Anna, with corona—

Wintour: He was pretty sick. I'm sure you've heard from many others that so many doctors and so many nurses, you know, got sick… but he was, once he was able, determined to go right back in and help, and do everything he can. And thank goodness that we have Governor Cuomo helping us through this. Because you feel he's telling us the truth. He's compassionate… I think that we have somebody in New York who is a true leader.

King: And how are you handling quarantining? Do you have a ritual? Do you have a routine? For instance, are you dressed right now?

Wintour: Pretty much just dressed as I am every day.

King: You have on pants, Anna Wintour?

Wintour: I am wearing sweatpants. Yes.

King: Sweatpants. OK. All right. Because I'm wearing shorts. I'm getting ready to work out. I was wondering what Anna was going to wear because listen, you always look impeccable… Your hair is done. Did you do your own hair today? You're doing that yourself?

Wintour: I did, I did.

King: It looks good. … Anybody who knows Anna says she loves to play. She loves to laugh. So I'll say this. I'll put on my glasses if you'll take off yours.

Wintour: Absolutely. Deal.

King: Nice to see you, Anna Wintour.

Wintour: Nice to see you too, Gayle. Thank you for having me.

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