The Fashion Industry Is Stepping Up During The Coronavirus Pandemic — UPDATE
Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, Prada, H&M, and more are helping with medical supplies and generous donations.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect additional brands and designers, including Chanel, helping with creating PPE (personal protective equipment) and Tiffany & Co.'s donations towards COVID-19 relief.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, fashion brands and designers are lending their resources to help provide masks and other supplies to hospital workers. Everyone — from Prada and H&M to Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung — has announced a shift in their production to sew masks, which have been in a major short supply at hospitals around the world.
On Friday, Christian Siriano reached out to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and offered his help to make masks, tweeting, "If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some. I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help."
Siriano now has his 10 seamstresses in New York developing masks, working on prototypes while they wait on FDA approval.
Luxury group Kering, which owns brands like Gucci and Alexander McQueen, has also announced that it will be purchasing three million surgical masks to donate to hospitals in France and that two of its brands, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, plan to start producing their own. Gucci plans to donate over one million masks and 55,000 medical overalls to hospital workers in Italy, which has faced the largest death toll during the pandemic, while Prada has converted its factory in Perugia into a medical supply production facility.
Earlier last week, Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss turned his brand's New York office into a donation center for medical supplies. Most recently, H&M has teamed up with the European Union to help distribute medical supplies across the continent in the most hard-hit regions, while also donating $500,000 to the World Health Organization.
"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," said H&M Group's Head of Sustainability Anna Gedda in an official statement. "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 latest to contribute their efforts towards the coronavirus pandemic is Chanel. On Sunday, March 29, the luxury brand announced it was working on prototypes for face masks and will soon launch them into production upon approval from the French authorities, reports Reuters. "Today we are mobilizing our workforce and our partners ... to produce protective masks and blouses," said Chanel in an official statement.
The fashion house has also donated 1.2 million euros towards France's hospital system and will maintain salaries of its employees for eight weeks, according to WWD.
Additionally, the Tiffany & Co. Foundation has donated $750,000 to the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $250,000 going to The New York Community Trust's NYC Covid-19 Response and Impact Fund. The foundation has also signed onto Philanthropy's Commitment During COVID-19 Pledge alongside over 500 other philanthropic organizations.