THE FASHION INDUSTRY FIGHTS BACK
While the Covid-19 pandemic is disrupting economies and industries around the globe, fashion brands have stepped up efforts to combat the virus. Italy has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, and is where many of the biggest names in fashion are headquartered – so an increasing number of these luxury brands have rallied to raise funds. Prada’s holding company, Prada S p A, is funding two brand-new intensive care units in Milan, while Donatella Versace and daughter Allegra Versace Beck have also vowed to donate $200,000 (Dh734,500) to Milanese intensive care units.
Bulgari has made an undisclosed contribution to the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome, to help the research institute purchase a microscopic image acquisition system to advance treatment and prevention of the virus. Designer Giorgio Armani has offered €1.25 million (Dh4.9m) to several hospitals in both Milan and Rome.
Giuseppe Santoni, chief executive of shoe brand Santoni, has made a €50,000 donation, destined for hospitals and institutions in the Marche region of Italy, where the company is headquartered. Dolce & Gabbana, meanwhile, has made a large (but undisclosed) donation to the Humanitas University in Italy, as it conducts urgent research into the virus.
The chief executive of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, has personally gi ed $100,000 to hospitals in the EmiliaRomagna region of Italy, which has one of the highest infection rates in the country. Another shoe brand, Sergio Rossi, has donated more than $100,000 to two of the largest hospitals in Milan.
Fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni and husband Fedez have pledged €100,000 to a GoFundMe fundraiser for additional intensive care beds at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.
Across the Atlantic, New York fashion label Christian Siriano repurposed its workshop to make muchneeded face masks for the city’s healthcare workers. Announcing the news on Twitter, the designer said: “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.”
Moncler, the high-end jacket label, has vowed to help finance a new hospital in Milan dedicated to Covid-19 patients. The 270,000-square-foot facility will have over 400 intensive care units. With construction well under way already, the new specialist hospital is expected to open imminently.
Saint Laurent and Balenciaga both announced that their workshops in France would be given over to the production of surgical face masks, instead of clothes, while parent company Kering Group will be donating an additional three million masks to the French healthcare system.
LVMH, owner of some of the world’s largest luxury brands, was one of the first to lend its efforts to the battle against Covid-19, when it began producing much-needed hand sanitiser at three of its perfume manufacturing facilities in France, which are traditionally reserved for creating Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain fragrances.
“The cosmetics factories are very similar to pharmaceutical factories,” explains Marc-Antoine Jamet, general secretary of LVMH. “Sometimes they have the same [ingredients]; that’s why we have diverted our production lines into this gel production. We were told that perhaps hand sanitisers will be at risk of shortage in Paris hospitals and elsewhere.”