To think that every single industry – very much including fashion – hasn’t been affected, in one way or another, by the COVID-19 disease outbreak would be a mistake. From expanding product lines to include hand sanitisers and surgical masks, to postponing highly-anticipated shows as a preventative measure, the global fashion industry is playing its part in taking on the deadly virus.
In France, for instance, given the fact that there’s risk of shortage of hydroalcoholic gel, Chief Executive of LVMH, Bernard Arnault instructed that the company manufacture within their production sites as much alcohol-based sanitisers as is needed to support French health authorities, free of charge. The parent company is also reportedly ordering 40 million health masks from China to give to the local health service, with the first order of 10 million masks to be distributed to those in need this week.
Fast Fashion giant, H&M is also contributing efforts towards the global fight against the Coronavirus. According to reports, H&M Group is right in the middle of producing protective personal equipment for frontline medical staff battling the ongoing pandemic. The retailer said new Chief Executive, Helena Helmersson spoke with the European Union and “offered the company’s help”, and the brand “started to prepare the production of personal protective equipment for healthcare providers”.
In the same vein, Spanish retailer, Mango announced the company’s intentions to donate two million face masks to hospitals around Spain. Similarly, fashion house Zara, owned by the Spanish company, Inditex has offered to produce hospital gowns and surgical masks, claiming 10,000 masks have already been distributed.
Luxury perfumers are also playing an active role in the fight. Givenchy and Christian Dior notably switched production to hand sanitisers, as news of the outbreak grew and the virus spread, while Dolce & Gabbana and Bulgari are funding research into finding a cure.
The coronavirus outbreak is affecting fashion shows and events across the world. Dior indefinitely postponed its cruise show, set to take place on 9 May. “As a preventive measure, in accordance with instructions from public authorities, and to reinforce the coordination of international directives, the House of Dior has decided to postpone its cruise show in order to ensure the safety of all its employees, collaborators and guests,” Dior said in a statement. Following suit, Chanel has cancelled its 2020/21 cruise show in Capri, scheduled for 7 May. In a statement, the fashion house said, “foremost consideration is the health and well-being of our teams and guests.”
Due to the developments of the illness in Italy, Giorgio Armani’s Autumn/Winter 2020 womenswear show in Milan was held behind closed doors. Instead of hosting a group of guests, Armani live streamed the ready-to-wear show, which was held in an empty theatre, on Armani.com and the fashion house’s social channels. CEO, 85-year-old Armani also reportedly donated €1.25m (£1.1m) to hospitals in Italy in a bid to combat the outbreak, which has been distributed to four hospitals, including three hospitals in Milan and the Spallanzani hospital in Rome. According to news sources, it also included funds donated to the Civil Protection Agency, a national body in Italy that deals with emergency situations.