From manufacturing supply chains to fashion weeks and trade shows, the global coronavirus pandemic is shaking up the fashion industry as we know it. This phase, which can well last over months, poses unprecedented economic and social damage. But, even during a time such as this, industry players are rising up to the occasion and putting humanity first by offering help in the form of financial donations and personal protective equipment (PPE) to affected countries.
Apparel Resources brings to you a (constantly updated) list of efforts undertaken by small to large-sized players in the world of fashion and retail to curb the situation.
Post its announcement of switching its beauty and perfume factories to manufacture hand gel sanitisers, the French luxury conglomerate will supply 40 million surgical face masks to France to tackle the acute shortage faced by the country. As of 8 April, Louis Vuitton converted five of its French workshops to make masks for frontline health workers.
Dior, also owned by LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods group, has been making masks since the end of last month for hospital staff after its seamstresses volunteered to go back to its ateliers in Redon in Brittany in western France, which has been closed since France went into lockdown on 17 March, in an exceptional act of solidarity.
Kering-owned luxury fashion brand Gucci preps up to manufacture over one million masks and 55,000 pairs of medical grade overalls for healthcare workers in Italy upon approval from medical authorities.
The world’s second largest fashion retailer, H&M has offered use of its vast supply chain network to source personal protective equipment including masks, gowns and gloves for hospital healthcare staff in the European Union amid shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.
The fast fashion giant H&M has entered the COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry initiative and has announced that it would be paying its suppliers for SS20 orders.
The company said that it is in close dialogue with financial institutions to find solutions for manufacturing suppliers and garment workers and it will also work in collaboration to promote the establishment of sustainable systems of social protection.
It said that it will continue to take delivery of and pay for already-produced goods as well as goods in production, if delivered within a reasonable time-frame.
Kering is purchasing three million surgical grade masks from China to donate to the French health services. It has also donated to hospitals across Italy struggling to control the pandemic, along with the Hubei Red Cross Foundation in China. In addition to this, Kering has also made a financial donation to the Pasteur Institute, a private French non-profit, to support research for COVID-19.
Yves Saint Laurent
YSL, which operates factories in France, will also begin to produce masks upon approval, complying with the ‘strictest protection measures’ for healthcare personnel.
The Parisian luxury fashion house, Balenciaga is switching its France-based factories to manufacture protective masks for healthcare workers.
Della Valle Family – Tod’s
The owners of Tod’s – the Della Valle family – have launched a new project to aid the bereaved family members of health professionals with a €5 million donation.
Titled ‘Sempre con Voi’ or ‘Always with You’, the donation will be extended to support the family members of health personnel who lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19 and anyone who wishes to contribute to Sempre con Voi can make a transfer to an account opened by the Protezione Civile: IBAN IT66 J030 6905 0201 0000 0066 432.
American Apparel Founder Dov Charney offered to switch his Los Angeles based factories to make face masks. The US Government is shipping him and one other partner 50,000 pounds of chemically treated fabric appropriate for a medical setting for masks. Charney hopes to have his production scaled for upto 2,50,000 masks a week.
Primark creates factory worker wages fund to cover the wages component of orders that have been cancelled. The brand has announced that it will fund payment of the wages, taking into account adjustments for government support packages provided in each country. This action will cover orders from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
In consultation with external stakeholders, the Primark ethical trade team will explore mechanisms to ensure that this money reaches the workers.
In the US, designer Christian Siriano offered to create surgical masks recommended for hospital workers. He had sent his seamstresses to work from home with sewing machines and fabrics in March itself.
Karla Colletto Swimwear
Founders Karla Colletto and Lisa Rowan have also converted their Virginia-based apparel factory to produce masks in partnership with local medical supply distributors.
FDCI and Lakme Fashion Week
Indian fashion councils – the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) – launched a COVID-19 Support Fund to aid small businesses and young designers during the global pandemic.
The FDCI launched its COVID-19 Support Fund on Facebook on 28 March, and the Mumbai-based bi-annual fashion week LFW announced its support with the hashtag ‘In This Together’ on 31 March.
The LFW sponsor IMG Reliance’s parent company Reliance Industries has also announced a wide range of measures to support coronavirus relief across India. The business has donated Rs. 500 crore ($ 67.7 million) to the PM Cares Fund, set up a 100-bed hospital dedicated to the fight against the virus, and planned to produce one lakh protective masks per day.
Celebrated Indian fashion designer Anita Dongre donated Rs. 1.5 crore as a medical fund to support the small vendors and self-employed artisans working with her amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Citing the safety of her direct employees, the designer mentioned the medical insurance already in place that covers and protects them, further clarifying that support would be extended to them as well in light of any unforeseen medical emergency arising out of the current situation.
Dongre also launched ‘A D Torchbearers’ as an initiative to celebrate her employees, as the business remains shut for the duration of the counter-coronavirus lockdown.
She employs 2,700 employees directly and thousands more indirectly across factories and villages located in India. By sharing her employees’ stories, Dongre aims to highlight their work during this difficult time and show customers the brand’s core values.
Anita Dongrehas started the production of protective cloth masks for distribution in an effort to further contribute in combating the grave COVID-19 pandemic in India. The reusable masks will be created out of fabrics that are used for the production of clothes for the brand’s various fashion labels such as AND, Global Desi, and Anita Dongre.
Around 24 women employees from among two of Anita Dongre’s community tailoring units in Charoti and Dhanevari have volunteered to offer their services to manufacture approximately 7,000 masks each week starting 13 April. These reusable masks will be distributed for free across various NGOs, village residents, individuals, and hospitals. With no maximum number being declared, the designer clarified that the masks will be produced and distributed as long as people need them. Apart from these masks, these skilled women workers will also be producing special quality medical grade disposable masks for doctors, nurses and medical staff at the request of local hospitals in the area.
Traditional and bridal wear designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee pledged to donate Rs. 10 million of personal funds to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) in India, along with an additional Rs. 5 million to the Chief Minister of West Bengal’s Relief Fund, to be used for the purpose of ramping up the medical facilities in the country.
The designer has also announced that he would be using his brand’s social media platforms to share ‘stories of kindness’ during India’s battle against coronavirus.
Indian designer Rahul Mishra, who has a workforce of around 1,000 people, offered a month’s salary in advance to all his factory workers. Mishra has also given raw materials to his embroidery workers to enable them to continue their work from home. Moreover, he has also asked his tailors to sew face masks for his workforce to take home and use, giving 10 masks to each worker.
The China-based international fast fashion e-tailer SHEIN’s India division has stepped up during the times of the global coronavirus pandemic by donating one lakh surgical masks to Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital situated in Mumbai.
The brand has also been actively engaging its customers by sharing communication on the novel coronavirus, including myth-busting facts and health and safety tips.
The Mumbai-based womenswear brand Karleo launched an initiative called ‘Masks for Humanity’ in partnership with the civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to produce face masks for essential workers.
The clothing brand has turned its production efforts to manufacture non-surgical face masks, and it aims to distribute 5,000 masks in cooperation with BMC. The brand is working with clusters of women artisans who are currently working from home to fabricate these masks.
Crocs and Priyanka Chopra Jonas
In an effort to support Indian healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, international footwear brand Crocs, Inc., in partnership with its global brand ambassador, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, has announced to donate 10,000 pairs of footwear to healthcare professionals.
Designed with Croslite™ material, Crocs™ shoes help provide all-day comfort. Further, the ability to easily clean the shoes will lend healthcare professionals ease of mind before going home to their families.
These shoes will be given to healthcare workers based in Kerala, Maharashtra, Haryana, and Karnataka. Crocs is carrying out similar donations in other countries as well. Besides India, the brand has partnered with Priyanka for a 10,000 pair donation to healthcare workers in The United States as well.
Marks & Spencer
The international retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) joined hands with the NHS Nightingale frontline team in London and its long-standing hospital partners to help cater to the needs of NHS teams and the patients in their care.
The retailer is donating thousands of specially branded t-shirts for the NHS team in London, along with sourcing, packing, and delivering much-needed individual clothing care packs to discharged patients as well. The individual care packs for both male and female patients, each contain a t-shirt, jumper, joggers, knickers or boxers, and socks, and are available in a range of sizes. Phrases that read ‘We are the NHS’ feature over t-shirts forming part of the uniform pack for the NHS team.
M&S has also entered a new, bi-weekly free food delivery programme to help feed the healthcare workers at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, with deliveries of nearly 5,000 prepared meals, sandwiches and treats every week for the next two months.
Marks & Spencer’s Castle Donington Distribution Centre team will donate over 4,000 pyjama sets required for doctors and nurses at NHS Royal Derby Hospital to wear as scrubs as they care for patients.
The retailer is further donating to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Customers can also contribute to the cause by selecting NHS Charities Together, partners of the Clap for Carers initiative, as their preferred Sparks charity, enabling M&S to continue donating every time customers shop in its food stores and online.
M&S has further simplified the shopping process for NHS staff, emergency services workers, and health and social care workers by introducing special shopping hours every Tuesday and Friday during the first hour. The retailer has also increased the size and product range of daily deliveries to its 46 hospital stores across the UK to help NHS workers access essential family products, including more meat, fish, produce and personal care items.
Burberry updated its measures on combatting COVID-19 by committing to safeguarding jobs and continuing to maintain base pay for all its employees who are unable to fulfil their roles because of store or site closures.
The luxury fashion house also announced that its senior leaders are taking a voluntary 20 per cent pay cut from April through June – money raised from which effort will be donated to the Burberry Foundation COVID-19 Community Fund.
Established earlier this month, the fund supports its employees and communities in need globally. This is in addition to donations the firm has made to vaccine research and charities alleviating food poverty.
Burberry’s trench coat factory in Castleford is now manufacturing non-surgical gowns and supplying them to the NHS in the UK. The company is also sourcing surgical masks through its supply chain and supplying them to the NHS and charities such as Marie Curie. So far, it has donated more than 100,000 pieces of PPE.
The multi-brand fashion and lifestyle business Good Earth is contributing to the coronavirus pandemic by producing a range of hand sanitisers under its Amritam brand and Paro Botanica team at its factory in Ballabhgarh. The brand has already donated a shipment of sanitiser gels to India-based non-profit government organisation, Goonj.
Good Earth produced its first batch of hand sanitisers in a span of one week post obtaining a licence, and plans to continue prodcution and donate the products as soon as it can arrange for additional raw materials.
The retailer also pledged financial support to Goonj, which is working to aid those in need during the lockdown. The business matched pledges of days’ salaries from its employees.
Joining H&M’s efforts, the international fashion retail group BESTSELLER also announced its entry into the COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry initiative.
The company has pledged to accept delivery of orders already made and also those in production through individual dialogue with all of its suppliers. Any orders that have been cancelled have been done so in total agreement with the concerned suppliers. It is also “reconfirming and still placing orders for autumn, although a reduction in some volumes are sought to prevent over-production.”
Tommy Hilfiger is donating 10,000 white t-shirts to healthcare workers across USA and Europe in an effort to combat coronavirus. The brand also announced the launch of a capsule collection, 100 per cent proceeds of which will go in aiding global COVID-19 relief efforts.
The limited edition capsule will comprise Tommy Hilfiger branded white t-shirts as well as sweatshirts, which are being designed in collaboration with the public. Consumers will vote on their favourite designs as posted by the PVH-owned brand on their Instagram handles. The styles with the most votes will be created as final pieces for the collection and will be available for purchase in select markets on www.tommy.com in May.
Dolce & Gabbana
International luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a new campaign for its Devotion bag, starring Sofia Vergara, part of whose proceeds will go to fund research for a vaccine against COVID-19. The funds raised will be directed towards Humanitas University in the second phase of the Italian fashion house’s support for the vaccine research against coronavirus.
European e-commerce giant Zalando announced that it will start selling affordable masks at its Zalando Fashion Stores beginning first week of May, in an effort to combat the coronavirus crisis. These masks will be available for purchase across all of Zalando’s 17 markets and proceeds from these sales will go to support the Humedica charity.
Thanks to the company’s vast network of partners and its private label production, Zalando is able to ramp up production for non-medical masks.
Priced at €1 per mask, the company will be kick-starting the initiative with “a few designs” for now and will gradually increase its assortment by adding more designs over the next few weeks.
Spanish luxury label Loewe will donate 100,000 surgical masks to the Spanish Red Cross, which it will manufacture at its own factory located in Getafe (Spain). This factory is open to volunteer workers and employees of Loewe and their family members.
The LVMH-owned brand is also collaborating with Plataforma de Infancia, an association of 67 Spanish community organisations working to protect the rights of children and adolescents. Loewe will donate €500,000 to these educational projects, and has also pledged to donate €40 for each product of the Paula’s Ibiza collections sold between May and August this year, both at physical stores and online.
Indian premium workwear brand FableStreet launched its own line of sterilised cotton reusable masks in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The brand plans to manufacture more than 15,000 masks over the next few weeks.
Priced at Rs. 990 (US $13) for a pack of ten face masks and Rs. 495 for a pack of five, the masks are available for purchase on the company’s website.
FableStreet will also be donating these masks free of cost to their employees, families, and those in need such as guards, policemen, local shops among many others, in local areas.
Their factory is operating at less than 30 per cent capacity and following all guidelines to ensure the safety of its workforce.
International footwear brand Bata has donated around one million pairs of shoes to health care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic across the countries and regions in which it is operating.
Through this initiative, the brand will donate shoes to all frontline staff, including healthcare workers, volunteers, and their families located in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and India.
Bata has additionally manufactured and donated protective face masks, face shields, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.
Mango announced that it will be donating 1 per cent of its retail sales from its bricks-and-mortar stores to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 relief fund, in an effort to support the more vulnerable health care systems during the pandemic.
The WHO fund enables individuals, corporations, foundations and other organisations around the world to directly support the WHO’s global effort to assist more vulnerable countries in preventing, detecting and responding to the pandemic.
This effort will continue for the next two months on part of the retailer, and will involve Mango’s mono-brand stores in Europe, Russia, Turkey and New York, as they gradually reopen.
In an effort to support the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nike announced that it will donate over 140,000 pieces of footwear, apparel and equipment – amounting to US $5.5 million – across the US and Europe.
As part of the initiative, the sportswear giant will donate 30,000 pairs of Nike Air Zoom Pulse shoes – a first of its kind exclusive shoe designed by Nike for those hospital workers – to healthcare systems and hospitals situated in Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and New York City, and within the Veterans Health Administration.
The Air Zoom Pulse shoe styles, as well as all other shoes set to go to healthcare workers in the US, will be distributed in partnership with non-profit organisation Good360, also a Nike partner.
Additionally, Good360 will help in delivering approximately 95,000 pairs of soccer socks offering mild compression to healthcare workers in Los Angeles and New York City. An additional 2,500 pairs of Air Zoom Pulse will be donated to hospitals across Europe, including Barcelona, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris and Belgium, with the help of local organisations situated in Europe.
Furthermore, the company released videos of Nike athletes thanking healthcare professionals for their work during the global crisis.
Nike has already donated 1,100 Nike Sportswear kits, which include a drawstring bag, water bottle, a hat or headband and socks, to healthcare workers in New York City, while across Europe, the company has donated nearly 4,000 pairs of shoes and more than 3,500 pieces of sweat-wicking Dri-Fit apparel to over a dozen hospitals and shelters.
In addition to these initiatives, The Nike Foundation, Nike leaders and Nike employees have collectively committed more than US $25 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Klarna X ASOS
In April, European payments provider Klarna, in association with fashion retailer ASOS, pledged to donate $1, £1 or €1 for every Pay Later transaction placed on the latter’s website to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The money raised will go in aiding the ICRC in its frontline response to COVID-19, helping to fund activities such as sanitation in order to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Klarna put no limit on the amount that it would be donating as part of Giveback Day and promised to honour every Klarna transaction placed at ASOS in the relevant currency.
ICRC will also use the donation to support vital health infrastructure such as hospitals in countries affected by conflict and ensure access to clean water for countless communities.
Mulberry is amongst the latest luxury fashion brands to have converted its clothing factories to manufacture reusable PPE gowns.
Its Somerset factories have pledged a goal to deliver over 8,000 gowns over the coming weeks, which along with personal protective equipment (PPE) kits manufactured by the label will be donated to the Bristol NHS Trust in the UK.
Mulberry said that each gown will be crafted in accordance with the Government-issued guidelines with a specially-sourced material that is fluid-resistant and washable, to allow NHS frontline workers to reuse them multiple times.
In addition to producing gowns at its factories, Mulberry has also teamed up with Bristol ‘Scrub Hub’, a network of voluntary community groups, and will donate large volumes of fabric to make scrubs.
The luxury brand also raised over £75,000 via its Coronavirus Appeal to support the National Emergencies Trust since its launch in March.
Indian sustainable fashion brand Doodlage is the latest to step up to contribute towards the coronavirus crisis in India. The fashion label will be offering free face masks along with its upcycled garments ordered by customers on its e-commerce store.
The face masks will be created utilising leftover fabric scraps from Doodlage’s latest men’s, women’s, and accessories collections, which the brand has launched online. Customers can leave a remark on their orders to get a matching face mask.
“The fashion industry will have to come up with innovative ideas to adjust to the changing consumer behaviour, to survive and encourage people to invest,” said Kriti Tula, Co-founder, Doodlage.
After receiving the required clearance by the district Municipal Corporation to operate in accordance with health and safety guidelines, Eka has started manufacturing protective face masks crafted from leftover textile scraps and has revealed plans to continue the initiative.
So far, the Indian homegrown sustainable fashion label has already donated 1,000 non-surgical masks for the underprivileged to the district administration and is supporting local craft clusters by continuing to work with them.
Eka announced on Facebook that it will continue to send across approximately 300 to 500 masks each week, which are made from fabric scraps, are 100 per cent natural, washable and reusable.
Tapestry Inc., owner of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman, has till date committed $ 9 million in financial support and product donations to global COVID-19 relief efforts.
As the company has announced commencement of its store reopening plan throughout North America, Europe and additional markets, the Coach Foundation, which has already committed $ 2 million to support New York City’s small businesses, will now commit an additional $ 1 million, focused on minority and women-owned businesses.
The foundation will additionally donate $ 300,000 to a non-profit organisation that supports low-income families in the Bronx, who have lost their primary earners due to COVID-19. In addition, Kate Spade has partnered with its ‘on purpose’ supplier – the brand’s social enterprise initiative – in Masoro, Rwanda to donate 24,000 masks to the community of Masoro. Kate Spade will further donate 5,000 backpacks to medical and essential workers in the United States.
Last month, Kate Spade also partnered with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and the global non-profit Crisis Text Line to bring #forthefrontlines, or free 24/7 emotional support, to New York based frontline workers in honour of the Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Founders and designers of the American fashion brand Badgley Mischka, have taken advantage of their time of social distancing to produce a series of illustrations on the theme of the ongoing global health crisis. The duo have created around 35 illustrations to support and encourage those who are battling the pandemic around the world.
Initially shared on Instagram and the brand’s website – www.badgleymischka.com, the illustrations were then sold in an online auction which ran until 17 May. Proceeds from the sales were donated to the Feeding America charity. The bid price started at 100 dollars per illustration, personalised before being framed and shipped to the owner by Badgley Mischka.
Old Navy is donating over $ 30 million of clothing to American families in need. The fashion brand is working with a number of partners to distribute clothes to vulnerable families including non-profit organisations such as Good360 and Baby2Baby.
In addition to this, the brand is also donating 50,000 protective, reusable face masks to the its long-time partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America, whose clubhouses have remained open and operational throughout the crisis to provide a safe place for kids and families in underserved communities.
Old Navy is also supporting its parent company, Gap Inc., by using its expansive supply chain to connect hospital networks with millions of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) providers, such as N95 masks, for frontline healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 battle.