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10 Luxury fashion brands fighting back against Covid-19

Paris Fashion Week 2020 marked a bittersweet close to an eerie fashion month. The spectacle, from deliciously extravagant designs to controversial front row appearances, was rightly marred by anxieties regarding the spread of Covid-19. 

As luxury brands strive to comply with their respective government’s guidelines, they are continuing to make considerable contributions to the global effort against Covid-19. Far from closing its high-rise, glass doors, the luxury fashion industry has fought back in an array of weird and wonderful ways. From the substantial donations to charities and research faculties, to the perfume factories now producing hand sanitiser, if there was ever a time for luxury brands to channel their creativity for positive change, this is it. 

We take a look at how the world’s most successful fashion brands are fighting back..

Anna Wintour repurposes the Vogue Fashion Fund to support fashion businesses affected by Covid-19

Initially pioneered by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America in response to 9/11, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is being repurposed to provide relief for those in the fashion industry affected by Covid-19. Leading the process is American Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour who together with Tom Ford, the chairman of the CFDA, has launched A Common Thread: a video-series highlighting how American fashion businesses are coping with the pandemic. In an article for Vogue.com, Wintour writes that A Common Thread will ‘go behind the scenes to show everyone who contributes to this creative, vibrant, and incredibly important industry’.

Donatella and Allegra Versace donate $200,000 to the intensive care units of San Raffaele hospital

In her heartfelt ‘Letter From Milan’ (originally published by Vogue.com), Donatella Versace called for people to ‘listen to what your government tells you to do’ and ‘to look out for one another by staying at home’. The Chief Creative Officer of Versace and her daughter Allegra Versace Beck, who owns a 40% stake in Versace, personally donated $200,000 to the intensive care units of San Raffaele hospital. A joint statement released by the pair identified that in ‘times like this, it is important to be united and support however we can to help all those who are in the front lines, fighting everyday to save hundreds of lives’.

Dolce & Gabbana announce funding for Covid-19 research in collaboration with Italy’s Humanitas University

While many luxury fashion brands have made generous donations towards the provision of healthcare and personal protective equipment, Dolce & Gabbana have chosen to support vital research conducted at Humanitas University in Milan. In a statement posted on the luxury brand’s instagram, the study aims ‘to lay the basis for developing diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, contributing to the solution of a global pandemic’. 

Prada announces it will produce 110,000 masks and donates 6 intensive care units to Milan Hospitals

Prada’s co-CEO’s, Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, and chairman, Carlo Mazzi, released a statement earlier in the month announcing an emergency donation of 6 intensive care and resuscitation units to 3 hospitals in Milan. Prada is also one of the latest luxury brands to divert its production lines towards the manufacture of PPE. The Italian brand has committed to delivering 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 face masks to healthcare personnel in Italy by April 6th 2020. 

LVMH’s factories swap perfume for hand sanitiser

LVMH, the luxury conglomerate which owns brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Moët & Chandon, has utilised its capacity as a perfume manufacturer to produce 12 tonnes of hand sanitising gel to be distributed to French hospitals fighting Covid-19. As well as supplying French medical authorities with 40 million facemasks, LVMH has made an immense donation of $2.3 million to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF), supporting its response to the outbreak of coronavirus in China. It is important however, to add that the latter has since been criticised by Chinese citizens for alleged mishandling of donations. Hermès pledges 5 million yuan to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation

Perhaps influenced by the backlash against donations to the CRCF, Hermès, the luxury leather brand, instead pledged 5 million yuan to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a public welfare foundation known for its work with women and children. 

Kering donates $144 million to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation 

On behalf of its legendary luxury fashion brands (including Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Gucci) Kering, the French luxury group, has donated 7.5 million yuan to the Red Cross Society in China. According to a press release, Kering will donate 3 million medical face masks to the French health service, which will be produced in and imported from China. The statement also identified that a donation had been made to the Institut Pasteur, a French non-profit foundation specialising in the prevention and treatment of diseases, to support its research into Covid-19. 

Pyer Moss launches initiatives to support healthcare professionals and small business owners

Led by Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pyer Moss is a label proudly ‘concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism’. The first initiative, aimed at supporting healthcare professionals, has provided over 7000 medical masks and 1000 units of gloves and face protection to frontline workers. The second initiative has donated over $78,000 towards creative businesses (owned and operated by minorities and women) which have been negatively impacted by the spread of Covid-19. 

Sergio Rossie pledges 100% of profits to the fight against Covid-19

In a stylish Instagram post declaring ‘Shoes Make a Difference’, Sergio Rossie pledged to donate 100% of all sales (from the 14th-20th of March) towards the fight against coronavirus.  The luxury footwear brand also donated €100,000 to the ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco in Milan, while promoting the hashtag #StayHome to its vast social media following.

Hermès pledges 5 million yuan to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation

Perhaps influenced by the backlash against donations to the CRCF, Hermès, the luxury leather brand, instead pledged 5 million yuan to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a public welfare foundation known for its work with women and children.

H&M Foundation donates $500,000 to Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Founded in 2013, the H&M Foundation has completed projects across the globe from supporting female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia to providing safe water access to 10,000 people in Telangana, India. It’s of little surprise that, following the devastation caused by Covid-19, the foundation has donated $500,000 to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund created by the World Health Organisation. You can donate to the fund here. Meanwhile the fashion retailer itself has also been busy, H&M has started preparing to produce and deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist healthcare providers in their treatment of patients affected by the virus. 

Words by Lucy Morgan

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