When big guns march in: Here's how global luxury brands are helping fight coronavirus surge

From stitching masks to producing sanitisers, and donating millions for relief work, here’s how global luxury brands are helping fight the COVID-19 war.
Louis Vuitton mask
Louis Vuitton mask

Ever wondered what the world’s biggest brands are doing at a time when the world is under lockdown and nobody’s out buying their luxury goods? Plenty, actually. Forever since COVID-19 began sweeping the globe, and upending life as we know it, several of the world’s biggest luxury fashion, jewellery and beauty companies have come forward to join the relief efforts.

While some are recalibrating their factories to produce face masks, hand sanitisers and medical gowns, instead of the usual luxury apparel, handbags and perfumes, others are donating millions to help hospitals buy medical equipment and to nonprofits reaching aid to the needy. Here’s a checklist, updated as of this week.

LVMH: The owner of brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dom Pérignon, Givenchy, Guerlain, Bulgari, Moët & Chandon, Loewe and Fendi, has converted its perfume and cosmetic factories into those producing hand sanitisers for French public hospitals. It has also employed 300 additional artisans to make non-surgical face masks for individuals in need.

RALPH LAUREN: In the largest donation yet by an American conglomerate to the COVID-19 fight, the brand has pledged $10 million to the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund and the company’s Emergency Assistance Foundation (for its own employees and partners). The company is also manufacturing 2,50,000 face masks and 25,000 gowns for healthcare workers.

BURBERRY: The British heritage brand is funding coronavirus vaccine research at Oxford University. It has also provided 1,00,000 masks for doctors and nurses of the UK’s National Health Service and is using its Yorkshire factories to make non-surgical masks and gowns for patients as well.  

CHANEL: The maison has donated $1.2 million for French emergency services and Parisian hospital systems, and stepped up production of a planned 50,000 masks for medical professionals, police officers and firefighters.

GIORGIO ARMANI: The designer has donated $2 million to various hospitals in Italy. Besides, all the brand’s Italian factories are being used to make single-use medical overalls for healthcare workers.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO: In partnership with the Italian Red Cross, the company is financing the renovation of two wards for coronavirus patients at a Florence hospital. In addition, it has donated hand sanitisers and masks to Tuscany’s healthcare workers.

BROOKS BROTHERS: The American clothing brand has pledged to make 1,50,000 masks per day in its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories to donate to healthcare workers.

PRADA: After donating complete intensive care units to some of Milan’s biggest hospitals, Italian house Prada has produced 80,000 medical overalls and 1,10,000 masks for healthcare personnel.

TIFFANY: The luxury American brand has announced an aid of $7,50,000 to the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund and $2,50,000 to the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.

HERMES: The French luxury goods manufacturer is donating €$20 million to Paris’ public hospitals, along with the 30 tonnes of hand sanitisers and 31,000 masks produced in its factories.

TOD’S: The Italian luxury leather company has set aside $5 million for the family members of healthcare workers who lost their lives fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

VERSACE: The flamboyant fashion house has pledged $5,00,000 to two Italian hospitals for ventilators and other medical equipment. Donatella Versace has personally donated $2,00,000 to the intensive care unit of a Milan hospital.

DOLCE & GABBANA: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have made a sizeable donation to Italy’s Humanitas University for a research project seeking solutions to contain the coronavirus.

PVH COR: The owner of Calvin Klein, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, has pledged $1 million to COVID-19 relief, and is supplying more than two million units of personal protective equipment to New York’s Montefiore Health System.

ESTEE LAUDER: The American beauty products brand is producing hand sanitisers for medical workers and other high-need groups. It has also donated $2 million to Doctors Without Borders.

MICHAEL KORS: The American brand has donated $2 million to various organisations engaged in relief efforts in New York City. This also includes A Common Thread, created by the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to support the fashion community.

FENDI: Along with a $2,50,000 donation to the Lombardy region, the Italian fashion house has collaborated with suppliers to produce non-woven masks for medical workers in Tuscany.

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