Fashion and design companies around the world are stepping up to stop the spread of COVID-19.
H&M and Zara were amongst the first fashion retailers to switch their operations to the manufacturing of medical supplies in Spain, but many luxury brands have now followed across the globe.
Italian company, Prada, has begun production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 face masks, while Gucci is manufacturing and donating 1.1 million face masks and 55,000 medical overalls to the Italian authorities.
Locally, VCAD Vancouver fashion design instructor, Jason Matlo, announced his own initiative to create masks and face shields and donate these to a local group called Mutual Aid Vancouver (MAV). MAV assists with grocery delivery and medication pick-up for the elderly and immune-compromised population across the city.
Matlo explains he was contacted by a friend of his to produce a mask that “may lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission” that locals can use “so they’re not buying medical grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that our healthcare providers desperately need.”
In collaboration with medical professional, Dr. Rehana Ahmed, Matlo wanted to ensure the materials he used and his overall design allow for the reduction of “potential direct transmission of infectious agents from healthcare professionals to patients.”
“There are important elements to this design that are critical,” says Matlo. “We are now working on a second round of face masks that will be made of cotton, which will be washable.”
Around the world, luxury good luxury goods conglomerate LVMH - headquartered in France and parent company of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Sephora, Fendi, Givenchy, and many more – is using its supply chain to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gel, or hand sanitizer. Switching from their perfume and cosmetic operations, LVMH’s goal is to help French health authorities with free hand sanitizers.
In New York, Ralph Lauren is pledging $10 million for the large-scale production of masks, gowns, and other critical healthcare items. Some of this donation will go towards the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which is run by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Canada Goose’s operations in Toronto and Winnipeg are leveraging their manufacturing facilities to create essential gear for frontline healthcare workers, including scrubs and patient gowns. This gear will be donated locally, at no cost.