While the coronavirus has upended the entire world, the fashion industry is feeling the affects hard. Over the past few weeks, the novel coronavirus outbreak has caused brands to shut down stores indefinitely, including Nike, Reformation, Everlane, Net-a-porter, and more, and post-poned the annual star-studded Met Gala event, which usually takes place in May.
But as the world grapples with a new reality, a slew of fashion powerhouse brands are pivoting from producing clothes to manufacturing protective masks, gowns, and other supplies to help combat the spread of the virus. To keep track of all the latest happenings, we've compiled a list of how fashion heavyweights are responding to the pandemic. Check back here for updates.
Bvlgari announced that it will manufacture thousands of hand sanitizers to be distributed to medical facilities throughout Italy. The hand gels will be created in 75ml recyclable bottles with plans to produce more in the upcoming months.
“I believe as a major economic actor and symbol of Italy, Bvlgari has a responsibility to contribute to the national effort to help prevent, fight and eradicate Covid-19. Thanks to our fragrances expertise we have been able to develop together with ICR a ‘hand cleansing gel with sanitizer’ which will be manufactured in our Lodi Factory already making our high-end perfumes and hotel amenities," Jean-Christophe Babin, Bvlgari CEO, said in a statement. "Aware of the difficult situation we are experiencing, we believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities."
Kim Kardashian West is using her upcoming Skims Solutionwear restock to support corona relief. Skims pledged to donated $1 million to those affected by the virus.
“To support mothers and children in need during this time, SKIMS is committed to donating $1M to families affected by COVID-19," KKW said in a press release. "On Monday, we’re restocking the collection we first launched with, and in doing so, are able to help bring relief to those affected by this pandemic. I am so grateful to all of you who have supported SKIMS since we first started 6 months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and has only been possible because of your love for what we do. Our six-month anniversary has fallen in the middle of a Global crisis so more than ever, it’s our responsibility to give back and do what we can to help others."
Uniqlo has partnered with its manufacturing companies in China to procure 10 million masks to donate to high-priority hospitals around the world. One million masks will be donated to Italy and another million will be donated to Japan. In addition to the masks, Uniqlo is also providing healthcare workers with their signature Heattech and Airism clothing. "The company will continue to give assistance where needed, and as the situation evolves," the brand said in a statement.
H&M will use its facilities to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to be donated to hospitals and health care workers working on the frontline.
"The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organizations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation," Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a press release. "We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible."
The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation announced that it will be donating $10 million coronavirus relief efforts. The funds will be split across four different causes:
- The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- Pink Pony Fund by supporting our long-standing network of international cancer institutions that are caring for people with cancer, who are especially vulnerable at this time.
• The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 relief to support the American fashion community impacted by the pandemic.
• Offer financial grants to our employees facing special circumstances, like medical, eldercare, or childcare needs
Gap Inc.—which houses brands like the Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, Hill City, and Janie and Jack—announced that the company will be using its factories to produce protective wear for healthcare workers.
"An update on our #COVID19 response: Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines," the brand wrote on Twitter.
Kering, the luxury goods giant behind Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and more, will supply three million surgical masks to French health services. Taking it a step futher, Kering brands Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are also manufacturing "masks while complying with the strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities," the company said in a statement on Sunday.
LVMH is using its Chinese suppliers to provide 10 million surgical masks to France. The brand announced that it will reorder masks for the next few weeks in similar quantities.
"In order to secure this order during an extremely tense period and to ensure that production begins today, Bernard Arnault arranged for LVMH to finance the whole of the first week of deliveries, amounting to five million euros," LVMH said in a statement.
Michael Costello announced he'll be collaborating with his Calabasas-based manufacturer to create 20,000 surgical masks to distribute to hospitals and first-team responders throughout the Los Angeles area.
"For the first couple of days of this emergency I, like many others, felt frustrated and helpless just sitting at home. I realized that even if I couldn't do what I wanted as a Designer, I should do what I can to help others that keeps our community safe," Costello said in a press release. "While I'm not a nurse, doctor or first responder, I knew I can give the one thing I know best, which is fashion, and help design masks that will be crucial for preventing exposure."
After Andrew Cuomo revealed that New York is facing a surgical mask shortage, designer Christian Siriano came to the rescue.
"If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some," he tweeted, tagging New York governor Andrew Cuomo. "I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help."
Shortly after, Siriano posted a short clip of what his masks will look like, writing, "We will be making a few versions of this in order to help as many people as we can. Here is the process so we can get a perfect fit. More to come thank you everyone we hope to get these to the right people ASAP."
Reformation is teaming up with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to produce protective face masks for not only health professionals, but grocery store associates and food delivery workers. Garcetti hopes the initiative will create more jobs for people. Manufacturers or businesses that are interested in participating can learn more about the initiative at laprotects.org.
Gucci pledged 2 million euros to COVID-19 efforts that will be split in two different donations. Gucci will donate 1 million euros to the Italian Civil Protection Department and another million euros to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
“This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world," Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, per WWD. "Their generosity and courage light our way forward in these difficult days. By supporting each other and helping those who are most vulnerable among us, we will be able to overcome this crisis: united, even more than before.”
Giorgio Armani is utilizing all four of its production sites to manufacture protective gear for healthcare workers. What's more, the luxury house has already pledged 1.25 million euros to donate to Italy’s Civil Protection and a slew of Italian hospitals, including Luigi Sacco and the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome. Armani also bumped its donation up to 2 million euros by supporting Italy's Bergamo and Piacenza hospitals.
Nerisha Penrose Assistant Editor Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.