As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, causing the closure of schools, restaurants and shops in many countries, luxury brands have felt the effects in falling sales and lost revenues. However, instead of cutting costs and laying off workers, many have instead joined the fight against the disease by donating profits, supporting key workers and turning their factories into outlets for masks and gowns for healthcare workers. Here’s what some of your favourite brands are doing to help…
Turnbull & Asser
London-based shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser has re-opened its Gloucester workrooms in order to help keep the NHS supplied with scrubs. The brand’s skilled craftspeople have been outfitted with personal protective equipment and supplied with new machinery to allow them to create medical-grade scrubs, while the brand has also called on its network of mills to obtain NHS-approved fabrics.
Turnbull & Asser is currently working on an initial batch of 4,000 scrubs for frontline NHS staff, with managing director Jonathan Baker commenting, “We believe compassion is key to overcoming this historic hurdle, and we hope all employees of the National Health Service are able to feel truly appreciated for all their hard work. In turning our hand to the production of scrubs, we hope to do our bit in expressing that gratitude.”
The American fashion behemoth has pledged $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts – including the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the Emergency Assistance Foundation and its own Pink Pony Fund – one of the biggest donation from a luxury brand so far. It has also donated money to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to support designers hit by the downturn and has pledged to create 250,000 face masks and 25,000 gowns for healthcare workers.
Jaguar Land Rover
The British car maker has offered 160 vehicles to Red Cross organisations in the UK, Spain, South Africa and France to help stop the spread of the virus. It is also loaning vehicles to the NHS as well as providing hospitals with wraparound safety glasses.
The UK design firm, helmed by James Dyson and best known for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, will make 10,000 ventilators for the NHS. Its new ventilator, the CoVent, was designed in 10 days and is said to address the specific needs of coronavirus patients. The company will also donate 5,000 ventilators to international coronavirus efforts.
The beauty conglomerate has donated $2 million to Doctors Without Borders, a charity which provides medical care to countries lacking in the resources to fight coronavirus. It has also reopened its New York factory in order to begin producing hand sanitiser for front line medical staff and vulnerable people.
The brand has announced that its Yorkshire factory will now be devoted to producing non-surgical masks and gowns, with 100,000 of these masks to be fast-tracked to the NHS. Burberry is also funding research at the University of Oxford into a single-dose vaccine, as well as donating to FareShare and The Felix Project to help provide meals for those in need.
The Italian fashion brand has pledged to make 1.1 million surgical masks and 55,000 gowns for Italian healthcare workers (its Kering sister brands Saint Laurent and Balenciaga will also be making masks for the French healthcare system). It has also launched a #GucciCommunity campaign encouraging fans to donate to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as making donations itself and allowing the WHO full access to its social media channels. Gucci’s parent group Kering has also donated €2 million to Italian healthcare institutions.
The Hut Group
Manchester-based The Hut Group has announced a £10 million aid package to help support vulnerable communities, key workers and the emergency services. The Group, which owns primarily digital retailers such as LookFantastic, Illamasqua and Mankind, has promised £5 million will go directly to the Manchester area, with the rest to be divided between the UK and international areas of need. This package will comprise of both cash donations and critical care products, including rooms at its Manchester hotels for NHS staff and police, food parcels for vulnerable families and hygiene products. The firm has also created 500 news jobs worldwide and will use its factories to create £1 million worth of hand sanitiser.
The British chemical company has begun construction on new hand sanitiser factories in the UK, Germany and France, with construction expected to take no longer than 10 days. Each factory will aim to provide 1 million hand sanitisers to schools, hospitals, supermarkets and workplaces per month.
The British carmaker has offered a 30-strong fleet of cars to help deliver groceries and medical supplies. It will work with charities, hospitals and other essential services local to its Chichester factory to provide these services and has also loaned a number of BMWs to hospitals. The car manufacturer is also thought to be one of a number aiding the government in making new ventilators.
The French luxury conglomerate was one of the first to announce its action against coronavirus, saying it would use the production lines of its numerous cosmetic and fragrance brands to produce hand sanitiser to be donated to health services. With all its French factories dedicated to the cause, the company is expected to produce 50 metric tons of hand sanitiser per week.
The British fashion brand has devoted its production line to creating gowns – which make up part of the vital PPE medical staff need – for frontline healthcare workers in the NHS. Announcing its plans in mid-April, chairman Margaret Barbour said the brand hoped to make 23,000 gowns over three weeks at its South Shields factory, which had been reorganised to comply with social distancing measures.
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