How Luxury Brands are Helping Fight Coronavirus
by Olivia Michel
From cancelled superyacht shows to postponed fashion launches, events around the world are closing their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19. Donating billions and hoping to aid medics battle coronavirus, some of the biggest luxury brands have now also stepped in too.
Luxury clothes brand Lacoste has helped in the fight against coronavirus by producing as many as 100,000 face masks. The company is also mobilising its production lines throughout France, Argentina and Turkey to help reach 200,000 face masks.
High-end jeweller Graff has donated $1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which supports the World Health Organization (WHO) as it works to track the virus, research vaccines and provide aid to coronavirus patients around the world.
Luxury beauty brand Estée Lauder has responded to the shortage of hand sanitiser by reopening a factory in New York. The facility will produce hydroalcoholic gel for high-risk groups and medical staff. The company has also donated $2 million to help Doctors Without Borders, which has deployed its volunteers to work in countries that currently lack sufficient resources to tackle coronavirus.
French beauty brand L'Occitane has also vouched to manufacture 70,000 litres of hand sanitiser for French health authorities. The brand has also donated more than 10,000 hand creams to soothe the dry hands of National Health Service (NHS) staff across the UK and Ireland.
These donations follow in the footsteps of luxury conglomerate LVMH, which was one of the first fashion companies to join the fight against coronavirus. The company, which owns brands including Louis Vuitton, Loro Piana and Christian Dior, announced that it would help produce hand sanitiser to combat the current shortage. In an official statement, LVMH clarified that it will “use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands [...] to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels”, adding that “these gels will be delivered free of charge to the health authorities.”
Also tackling the shortage of necessary supplies is Ralph Lauren. The clothes brand has pledged $10 million to support healthcare workers, high-risk patients and also fellow American fashion designers that are suffering financially as a result of the pandemic. Part of these funds will go towards making 25,000 gowns and 250,000 masks for medical staff.
Other brands offering to produce patient gowns and masks for healthcare workers include luxury coat brand Canada Goose (10,000 scrubs and patient gowns), Prada (80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks), Gucci (1.1 million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls) top swimwear and stockings brand Calzedonia (10,000 masks a day for the Hospital of Verona), Chanel, Brooks Brothers (150,000 gowns per day), Hugo Boss (180,000 face masks) and Salvatore Ferragamo (100,000 anti-bacterial masks, 50,000 units of hand sanitiser and 3,000 masks to local healthcare units).
British brand Burberry has vouched to use its global supply chain network to deliver over 100,000 surgical masks to NHS and will be using its Yorkshire trench coat factory to make gowns and masks for patients. Additionally, Burberry is also funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.
A number of fashion houses have also offered charitable donations directly to hospitals and research facilities at this critical time. Prada will be funding two new Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in the Milan hospitals of Sacco, San Raffaele, and Vittore Buzzi. High-end accessories brand Bulgari also contributed to the cause by donating funds to the research department at the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome. Fendi’s Carla Fendi Foundation also announced a contribution of €100,000 to Rome’s Presidio Sanitario Columbus ICU. Luxury ski brand Moncler has donated €10 million to build 400 intensive care units for a new hospital in Milan.
Alongside donating 25% of business proceeds to an emergency fund at Florence’s Careggi Hospital, luxury jewellery brand Carolina Bucci has launched the "Isolate & Create" creativity campaign to support the mental wellbeing of families confined at home. A series of printable pages can be downloaded from the website and then used to colour in and fold into origami shapes.
Kering, which owns brands including Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Ulysse Nardin, has made a €2 million donation to health-care institutions in the areas of Lombardy, Veneto and Tuscany. The group also donated CNY5 million to the Red Cross Foundation in Hubei, China, where the outbreak first began.
CEO of Kering, Fran?ois-Henri Pinault, told fashion news outlet WWD “Our thoughts are with the many impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, and therefore we have decided to donate the funds as an immediate contribution to assist.” The aid will be used for medical staff and patients as well as for public health education.
Individuals poised at the head of the world's biggest fashion brands have also offered large sums of their personal wealth to help fight the spread of COVID-19. After postponing his cruise show, Giorgio Armani pledged over $2 million AUD of his own money to hospitals in his home country. More than $200,000 was also offered to the ICUs of a Milan hospital by Donatella Versace and her daughter Allegra, plus the chief executive officer of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, gave over $100,000 of his own money to hospitals in the badly hit Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
In an online article for Vogue, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has acknowledged the influence of such contributions, stating “I have never been more proud of our industry.”
Wealthy individuals from the superyacht world have also been offering aid. Superyacht owners Leading the coronavirus relief effort include Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who has offered NHS staff in London free accommodation at his Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to help shorten their commutes. He is joined by the likes of US scientist and superyacht owner Jonathan Rothberg, who is developing an at-home COVID-19 test kit.
Such substantial contributions from around the world are important, but every individual can also be doing their part to prevent the spread. For more information, head to who.int
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