How The Fashion Industry is Helping to Combat the Effects of Coronavirus
Posted on April 09 2020
The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting every single one of us. From regular citizens to companies big and small in every sector imaginable —its devastating effects, in one way or another, have battered us all.
As the crisis caused by the pandemic continues to grow, fashion designers and their businesses are suffering financially, shuttering stores and halting production entirely. Despite this, many of the world's most prominent fashion industry players including designers, fashion brands, companies and even magazines are doing their part to help those most in need and spread some joy during these trying times.
Freedom of Information
A few days after Italy went into lockdown, Vogue Italia announced it was opening its digital archives to the public for three months. Until June 13, registered readers will be able to enjoy every issue from 1964 to the present completely free of charge. What's more, Condé Nast Italy is also offering all of its digital titles for free for the next three months.
Meanwhile, many other media outlets like the Cut, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News to name but a few, have lifted their paywalls on essential news and Coronavirus related information.
Repurposing to meet supply demands
Some big players are using their manufacturing premises and resources to help fight Coronavirus. Luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH, (parent company of Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton) turned its fragrance producing factories into hand-sanitizer plants. As of last week, they had donated over 12 tons of hand-sanitising gel to healthcare workers in 39 hospitals in France.
Rival company Kering prompted its labels Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Gucci to make three million face masks. Additionally, Gucci is also producing 55 thousand medical overalls for Italian healthcare professionals.
Similarly, other italian giants like Giorgio Armani, Prada and Versace, began utilising their production lines to manufacture overalls and masks to be distributed to hospitals and health workers in their home country. Meanwhile, in New York, designer Christian Siriano offered his help to the local Government via twitter:
"If we need masks, my team can make them! I have sewers and pattern makers ready to help working from home we need all the information on how to help."
(Photo: Christian Siriano)
His action quickly prompted other American designers to step up to the plate.
Brands like Hanes, Hanky Panky, American Giant and Los Angeles apparel, and designers like Ralph Lauren, Michael Costello, Brandon Maxwell, Marc Bouwer, Nicole Miller and Prabal Gurung, among many others, got involved by dedicating their manufacturing capacity to making masks and gowns for health workers.
For its part, Swedish giant H&M offered its supply chain to help distribute protective equipment to health professionals. American designer Pyer Moss, rather than distributing or producing supplies, is helping collect them in his New York City headquarters. The latter proves that there are many ways to help, and designers don't need to put forward huge resources to make a difference.
Donations for Relief
One of the major concerns plaguing the fashion industry is how smaller brands will cope economically with the crisis, as they don't have financial muscle of bigger names. For this reason, Vogue and the CFDA decided to repurpose their CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (originally created to support emerging talent) to aid those in the fashion community most affected by the Coronavirus situation.
Indeed, the bottom line of every fashion house, big and small, is being severely affected by the economic crisis brought upon the Coronavirus pandemic. However, many of them have not hesitated to offer financial aid where needed.
Aside from manufacturing healthcare supplies, Donatella Versace donated 200 thousand euros to the intensive care unit of San Raffaele hospital in Italy. She also contributed approximately 120 thousand euros to the Chinese Red Cross.
On her Instagram, the designer posted,
"My gratitude goes to all the doctors, nurses and the entire Italian health system that is working so hard to get us all over this terrible moment."
She went onto thanking the delegation of experts from China that arrived in Rome to provide equipment and supplies, adding "Let's be strong, let's fight this together and let's all be safe."
Another notable Italian name lent his efforts is Giorgio Armani. The 85-year-old designer donated about €1.25 million to Italian hospitals. Meanwhile, shoe designer Sergio Rossi contributed €100,000 to hospitals in Italy, in addition to donating 100% of his brand's online profits from the sales he made from March 14 to the 20.
Other houses, like Bvlgari and Dolce Gabbana, are designating funds for scientific research instead. The jewellery house donated an undisclosed sum to Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani's research department in Rome, which was among the first to isolate the DNA of the Coronavirus, (as reported by WWD). While the designer duo behind Dolce Gabbana announced they would help fund Coronavirus research conducted by professors at the Humanitas University in Italy.
At April & Alex, we want to help spread some joy during these difficult times. For this reason we will be giving away items from our online store to those who are on the front lines of the fight against the Coronavirus i.e. health workers, pharmacy, delivery and grocery workers, emergency responders and the journalists doing all of that much needed coverage to keep us up to date.
If you know someone in the U.K. carrying out one of these vital roles, click here and tell us about them! And we might send something their way as a big THANK YOU for their invaluable efforts in the fight against this pandemic.
Do Stay Safe.