Since the global outbreak of coronavirus at the end of 2019, companies including Prada, Gucci and Versace have all joined the fight against the disease. Brands are taking measures to aid countries and have provided protective medical equipment and masks to relieve shortages – some have even altered their supply chains to manufacture masks and overalls in existing factories.
Giorgio Armani donated nearly £1.1 million (€1.25 million) to hospitals in Rome and Milan, while Prada recently announced that it will manufacture 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks. High street companies are also getting on board – H&M reached out to the EU to offer aid to help fight the Covid-19 crisis and claimed it is rushing to alter its supply chains to provide medical equipment as soon as possible. Inditex (the owner of Zara) and Mango followed suit; the latter is in the process of distributing two million donated masks across Spain.
See below how luxury conglomerates including LVMH and Kering have joined the fight against coronavirus.
Italy has been one of the worst hit countries during the coronavirus outbreak. On 16 March, Prada donated six intensive care units to hospitals in Milan and on 18 March announced that it has started the production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks following a call from the Tuscany region. The Prada factory in Montone (in Perugia) will oversee the manufacturing of the medical equipment, and will aim to make daily deliveries to healthcare personnel until 6 April.
LVMH – Christian Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain
On 21 March, LVMH ordered 40 million FFP2 and surgical masks from China to be distributed to French healthcare workers. The first batch of 10 million is expected to be delivered in the coming days, with the remaining 30 million in several weeks. When the outbreak began in January, the company also donated 16 million renminbi (£1.9 million) to The Red Cross Society of China.
Following a call by the French government a week earlier, on 14 March, for companies to assist with the shortage of medical supplies, the billionaire chairman and chief executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, gave the green light for the luxury giant to begin manufacturing hand sanitisers at its factory outside Orléans. The premises would usually see the daily production of perfumes for the Christian Dior brand, in addition to cosmetics for Guerlain and Givenchy.
Kering – Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Gucci
Fellow luxury giant, Kering, has also taken measures to aid countries during the pandemic. The company’s chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault, has repurposed sites in Angers and Paris to manufacture masks. In a statement made on 23 March, Kering revealed that its companies Saint Laurent and Balenciaga will make the masks in compliance with the “strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities.”
Pending approval, Kering has pledged to donate three million masks, sourced from China. It has also made charitable donations to the Institut Pasteur to support research, to several hospitals in Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany and Lazio and stated that Gucci could be “able to donate 1,100,000 surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in the coming weeks, subject to relevant authorisations.” Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri, has also personally donated over £85,000 to some of the worst-affected hospitals in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
On 14 March it was announced that Donatella Versace and her daughter, Allegra, donated £185,000 (€200,000) to the intensive care unit at San Raffaele hospital in Milan. Further to their contribution, the Versace brand gave 1 million renminbi (£121,000) to The Red Cross Society of China.
As the fight against coronavirus continues, it is likely more brands will announce methods of support in the coming months.
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