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Fashion For Relief: How The Biggest Fashion Names Are Fighting COVID-19

Fashion companies are helping in the battle against the coronavirus by switching up their production lines and supply networks for the common good.


As new cases of the novel coronavirus rise sharply across the world, it seems all kinds of companies and charities are banding together to assist relief efforts. Not since World War II have so many organisations been involved in helping out. China’s Foxcoon, which assembles iPhones, is making face masks, Facebook is offering the World Health Organization free ad space to fight misinformation about the disease and some automakers and aerospace manufacturers are being asked to repurpose factories to produce ventilators.

Big names in the fashion industry are also introducing great initiatives to help those in need. From Miuccia Prada, Donatella Versace and Giorio Armani making sizeable donations to Tony Ward Couture producing bed sheets for hospitals, promises to help people devastated by the impact of the virus are being fulfilled in a myriad of ways. Rihanna, the multi-talented force behind luxury fashion brand Fenty, is one of the latest to come to the rescue via her Clara Lionel Foundation. The education and emergency relief nonprofit is donating a cool $5 million towards COVID-19 response efforts.

Additionally, here’s what three of the world’s biggest luxe and fast fashion companies are doing:


Just 72 hours after the French government asked for help in filling gaps of key medical supplies. Louis Vuitton Moët Hennesy (LVMH) Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault pledged to produce, bottle and deliver hydroalcoholic gel to France’s Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris hospital network, free of charge. And the billionaire in charge of France’s biggest company has given the green light to “continue to honour this commitment as long as necessary,” according to a statement. 

LVMH is known for its luxury brands, including Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, and the facilities that produce fragrances and cosmetics for these three giants are being used to create the hand sanitizing gel. One reason the company was able to start producing sanitizers so quickly is that cosmetics manufacturing is pretty close to pharamacy. So LVMH already had the three necessary ingredients, purified water, ethanol, and glycerine, on deck. Plus, since these three brands make liquid soaps and creams, which have a viscosity akin to that of hand sanitizer gel, LVMH can use its usual filling machines, plastic bottles and pump dispensers.


Spanish fast-fashion chain Zara is owned by Inditex, another company helping its home country, this time Spain. And with Spain being affected more by the coronavirus than any other European country except Italy, the step-in by Inditex is welcome indeed.

The company has been producing tens of thousands of masks for coronavirus patients as well as healthcare workers. And a spokesperson said they “will make a delivery at least once a week of materials [they] purchase directly.” And now Inditex has also offered to produce hospital scrubs. The company, which has shut nearly half its stores around the world because of the pandemic, said it would see how to go about converting part of its textile manufacturing capacity in Spain to produce the hospital gowns.

The company is also willing to help the Mediterranean country’s stretched hospitals fighting against the coronavirus with its immense logistics and supplier network, especially in China. The move is set to “meet Spain’s emergency needs of both medical and textile materials” such as protective masks, gloves, goggles and caps.


Swedish brand H&M, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, is ready to use its vast supply chain capacity, including its widespread purchasing operations and logistics capabilities, to help hospitals in the European Union curb the spread of COVID-19 by sourcing personal protective equipment. Many countries are already short of masks, the main priority, while gowns and gloves are also in demand.


H&M, Inditex’s biggest rival, revealed it had offered the EU its assistance and was now trying to understand which needs are most urgent, while working out what its supply chain could provide. What’s more, during the imperative initial phase, the company that has suppliers around the globe, especially in Asian countries, will be donating the supplies, according to an email from an H&M spokeswoman.

"The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organisations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation. We see this is a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible, Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability H&M Group, said.

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