"Every single person I met during my entire trip was so kind and understanding of my journey - I will forever be grateful for them." - Lucia, co-founder of Marta Scarampi.
Before you ask why I traveled, allow me to briefly explain my situation.
When the Covid-19 emergency hit I was in Italy for work, residing at my parent’s home. All of a sudden, I found myself locked down and not able to go anywhere. I will remember that day for some time: it was March 10th, 2020. The enforcement of shelter-in place in Italy was very strict as the situation escalated really fast and people were very worried, including my entire family and myself. And while I got caught up in - what I would define as the rollercoaster first days of Covid-19 in Italy - my husband was in New York City, trying not to panic and think about when we would next see each other. Safety was the most important thing on our minds, as it always has been, and traveling in the midst of the initial part of the emergency was not recommended. It was pretty frightening to say the least, since no one knew what to expect.
So we waited. All was scary and very uncertain. The idea that my husband was home alone, eventually quarantined, and then in solitude, did not comfort me at all. As the days went by, I missed him more and more. The six-hour time difference also made things challenging, but we stayed strong and were always virtually there for each other whenever possible; we kept each other calm.
However as days then weeks and ultimately months went by, we were starting to get worried and wanted to understand how we could be united. We were monitoring flights and seeing that cancellations were happening every day and anxiety was truly taking over. Ever since March 10th, when the lockdown started in Italy, the Italian airline Alitalia was the only airline operating one flight every day from Rome to New York and I would regularly monitor that flight.
The idea of being an ocean apart from my husband during one of the most uncertain times became overwhelming. At times I felt like I was having shortness of breath and needed to step out to get fresh air and breath. The support I had from family and friends was incredible and for that I’m truly grateful.
When I finally decided to book a flight to New York (and my travel was considered essential- not everyone is able to freely travel), it was by then April 30th, 2020 - 11 weeks had passed since I last saw my husband.
The blessing of a sophisticated protective gear designed by my beloved sister, Marta Scarampi.
The decision of traveling to my husband was one that involved every member of my family; everyone cheered for me and helped me prepare. As of April 18th, our Atelier in Torino started the production of face masks and protective gear for the community.
As we navigated into new waters and started creating new items we had never done before, Marta decided to work on something for me to wear and feel protected, but at the same time comfortable (and less anxious) throughout my journey.
In addition to face masks, we had started making protective gear for teachers, hairdressers and beauty salon workers. She had one night to come up with something for me to wear and what she came up with was truly amazing: she created a waterproof jumpsuit that comes with a zipped-up hoodie and matching mask.
She had one day to complete the prototype for me to wear; she made sure it was something I would feel comfortable in, look good in, (cause we always liked to travel in style!) and most importantly -- feel safe and well-protected in. She and her head seamstress Giulia got to work and like magic, a brand new product came to life.
That night Marta came home, she had me close my eyes to surprise me with what she had created for me. I was in awe. What’s more, I tried it on and it fit perfectly!
I ran around the house in joy showing it off to everyone (as a true Italian family - compared to my husband who was alone - I was in a house with 7 other family members including my grandparents). Finally, I felt like I was ready to go!
A closer look at the Deco Waterproof Jumpsuit & matching face mask
Marta’s idea was to provide me with a head-to-toe “cover up” that would still allow me to move at ease; the goal was to make sure I would not have any actual contact with anything I came across. Her first thought was to use the waterproof fabric – which we refer to as Deco - the same material we use to make our iconic Rain Cape. And that is what she ultimately used. The Deco fabric is a beautiful silk blend that is light and breathable.
The decision to make a jumpsuit made sense because it was a one-piece design. Marta incorporated an elastic waist and added elastics around the ankles and wrists, too. This allowed sleeves and pants to stay in place. She also made sure it had plenty of pockets; in fact, the jumpsuit has two inside hidden pockets on the top part!
The best feature is the attached hoodie; I would keep my hair inside and pull the hoodie all the way up to cover my eyes when needed. The collar ties around the neck and goes over the face mask. Clearly, as part of Marta’s design trademarks, the buttons to close the hoodie collar were covered up in the same waterproof fabric, as well as the button designed to cover the end of the zip.
The suit could be worn with or without other clothing underneath; I am a person that gets cold very easily so I decided to wear a shirt, a cashmere sweater and leggings underneath. I was able to easily take off any clothing by simply unzipping the upper part of the jumpsuit.
The surreal “new normal” experience
The journey from Torino to NY was long and I did not know what to expect throughout the entire trip. Airports were lonely and deserted. People were wearing face masks (as it was mandatory) but also various kinds of protective gear.
From the moment I stepped into the airport, my first thought went to all the people working every day to help people get around for essential travel during this emergency. It is overwhelming to think of all that implies for the management of airport and airline traffic and they were all incredible, efficient and operating with the new norms.
Social distancing is the new rule everywhere and especially at airports so everything takes a little more time than usual. Buses that take you to the plane can only carry half the amount of people, and the same goes to planes itself. On my flight from Milan to Rome, there were a total of 30/150 passengers; everyone was asked to maintain in their assigned seats because they had been carefully allocated to each one of us.
When we were exiting the plane, they called us by rows of two in order to avoid overcrowding in the aisles. Everyone’s temperature is also taken every time you board the flight. Meanwhile, in-flight service is now done at “a distance, too”; they provide you with the meal but carts no longer go down the aisles.
As I navigated my way through the empty airports and planes I found myself living a surreal experience. My trip lasted a total of 16 hours and I was trying to stay as aware of my surroundings as I could possibly be; traveling with a face mask and latex gloves on for all those hours in unprecedented conditions was not easy.
What kept me smiling though, were all the interactions with the people I came across (at a safe distance, of course) - my jumpsuit and matching face mask was a popular conversation starter.
The first time was when I boarded the plane from Rome to NY. The moment I sat down, one of the flight attendants came over and started asking me about my jumpsuit. She was so impressed with it! She told me: “From the moment I saw you walk into this plane I told myself I had to come and ask where to get it - it’s so elegant!” I was so, so happy to hear (and so proud of my sister!). We exchanged emails and kept in touch. This picture of me standing in the aisle was actually taken by her and she later sent it to me.
The second time someone complimented on my gear was when I landed at JFK. When I got off the plane, I was greeted by CDC officers who were collecting our health questionnaires. We were all in line (there were only a total of 9 passengers on that flight) and one of the officers looked at me and said: “Wow, is the outfit matching the mask or vice versa?” I told the officer that my sister made the outfit to match the mask (which is the more important item nowadays). In a matter of seconds, we all found ourselves engaged in a cheerful conversation while social distancing at the exit of the plane, in a deserted airport, talking about my waterproof jumpsuit. I believe I will never forget this moment!
After that, my temperature was screened and I was good to go and enter JFK at Terminal 1 to then head home to my husband where I would be quarantined.
Firstly, let me say: I had never seen JFK like this before. It was so empty and so quiet. There was no buzz and no running through the aisles; everyone was standing still, helping each other out as carefully as they possibly could. It was so silent, it was in fact really scary, to say the truth.
It was definitely not what we are used to, but maybe slowing it all down really allows us to be more grateful for everyone who makes traveling possible today.
Every single person I met during my entire trip was so kind and understanding of my journey - I will forever be grateful for them.
So I finally landed in NY right on time to be reunited with my husband for my birthday on May 5th. And 100%, this was the best birthday present ever!
CLICK HERE FOR JUMPSUIT PRE-ORDER As Italy slowly opens up again post Covid-19 lockdown and we all go back to full operations, including our fabric mills- we are accepting pre-orders on this garment. This will give us a better idea of how many we will produce. Once we start production we will notify you and then send to your home within approximately 10-15 days from your pre-order purchase date.
*Note: By no means, we are encouraging anyone to travel during this challenging time. We are simply preparing for the new normal as things start to open up, offering those traveling a safer option.