Fashion Brands and COVID-19

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SEATTLE, Washington — The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extends to more than any one industry. Indeed, factories, offices and countless other places of business find themselves forced to shutter amid quarantine, leaving many without recourse. That is why many in the fashion industry have taken it upon themselves to help those victimized by the crisis. Here is everything to know about major fashion brands and COVID-19.

Fashion Brands and COVID-19 Research

It goes without saying that the race for a vaccine is crucial to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, many fashion giants are placing their support behind research efforts at major scientific institutions. British luxury fashion brand Burberry, for example, has announced that it is funding research into a single-dose vaccine being developed at Oxford University. Historically, Oxford has held one of the world’s best track records in emergency vaccine development, with past success in fighting Ebola and MERS.

Likewise, researchers at Humanitas University have found an unlikely patron in the Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabanna. The study, which aims to clarify the immune system response to COVID-19, also seeks to develop diagnostic tools for the assessment and treatment of the virus. When asked what motivated the decision, founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana stated “In the face of these tragedies of such a vast scale, each action may seem insignificant. But… we understood that in any case, it was worth doing something.”

Fashion Brands Making Big Donations

Meanwhile, ther fashion brands are also donating money to various organizations working to fight COVID-19 on the ground level. In practical terms, this means making medical supplies, food and financial support accessible to as many people as possible.

One of the largest contributors in this regard is Gucci. Recently, the company announced that it would be donating €1 million to the Italian Civil Protection Department (ICPD). As the ICPD is responsible for handling the prediction, prevention and management of emergency events in Italy, this money will go a long way in helping the country combat COVID-19. The company did not stop there, however. In addition, Gucci also announced that it would be donating another €1 million to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

French luxury conglomerate LVMH also made waves in January by donating $2.2 million to the Red Cross of China. This prompted other fashion brands like Versace and Richemont to follow suit, bringing much-needed relief to Wuhan.

Fashion Brands and COVID-19 Supplies

Perhaps the most notable way fashion brands are contributing, however, lies in the way they are adapting to circumstance.  Worldwide, there remains a critical shortage of personal protective equipment like facemasks. This equipment is not only essential for the safety of civilians but also for medical workers. Thus, many fashion brands have redirected manufacturing resources to producing badly-needed medical supplies.

On top of donating €1.2 million to French emergency services, Chanel, for example, aims to produce more than 50,000 face masks and gowns for healthcare workers, police and other essential workers. Other brands like Ralph Lauren, Dior and the Armani group have also dedicated themselves to manufacturing masks, medical gowns and single-use overalls.

This is not something limited to clothing manufacturers either. Bulgari, known for its perfumes, plans to put that knowledge to use in producing hand sanitizer bottles. The 75ml recyclable bottles will then be shipped directly to medical facilities.

Thus far, the COVID-19 pandemic is having severe consequences globally. However, there are certainly many doing their part to help those in need. When it comes to the fashion industry in particular, major fashion brands are fighting COVID-19 any way they can.

– Elizaveta Naguslaeva
Photo: Royal Airforce Lakenheath

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