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The lockdown during this pandemic is making us be creative.  Restaurants are empty and mostly regulated to just delivery and pick up, all retail clothing stores are closed, and fashion week are all cancelled.  In the capital city of Lithuania, Vilnius restaurants owners are collaborating with local fashionistas.  They are turning some of Vilnius beautiful cafes and restaurants into a fashion exhibit.  Local designers are putting dressed mannequins in the unused space of the restaurants and café. 

"Empty tables inside our restaurant look rather odd, and we don't have any way to remove them," explained Bernie Ter Braak, the owner of "Cosy" restaurant, who co-authored this idea with a local well-known fashion designer, Julija Janus. "Therefore, we decided to reach out to our neighbours, fashion boutique stores and invited them to use our empty tables to showcase their newest collections. The news spread and well-known designers joined this project, which keeps gaining interest across the city."

Currently, a few dozen restaurants and cafés located in Vilnius Old Town Glass Quarter are participating in the initiative - over 60 originally dressed mannequins have been placed at the unused indoor tables, filling the space between dining guests. The mannequins will showcase unique fashion pieces from 19 boutiques, featuring local fashion designers and brands. At each table, visitors will be able to find the information about the exhibited items and where each piece can be purchased. This way, restaurants expect to be able to maintain the required indoor social distancing while helping designers gain attention for this season's newest fashion trends.

The idea that unites art, fashion and food was fully supported by "IDW", one of Europe's leading high-quality mannequin manufacturers, which agreed to provide all the mannequins free of charge for the needed period of time.

"The fashion industry is particularly affected by the lockdown," said Julia Janus. "Local boutiques used to sell the niche, original pieces created by local designers. As they are currently closed due to the quarantine, designers do not have many opportunities to showcase their latest collections, and in general, the consumption is down. We hope that this campaign will move the waters and local designers will gain some visibility."

According to the fashion designer, those who have joined the campaign want to spread one clear message: "Crisis like this calls for all of us to unite and help each other - together, we can achieve much more than being alone."

Vilnius Glass Quarter - The Glass Quarter community was formed in October 2018 in the area of Stiklių, M. Antokolskio, Gaono, and Žydų streets. Its purpose is to organize cultural routes, tell hidden stories of different places of Vilnius Old Town, create traditions, improve infrastructure, attract investors and users of Old Town culture. Community association activities are voluntary.