Well, the fashion industry has gone out of its way to rebrand, continuously attempting to create an image that is ethical, conscious, and politically correct. At times, the major players of this multi-billion dollar industry get it wrong, but it would appear that in more recent events, they’re seated on the right side of history’s front row.
We previously reported on how the coronavirus pandemic threatened not only fashion week shows across the fashion capital cities, but had affected production too. As a result, the luxury goods market has taken a slight hit economically as many have been forced to shut their doors in order to curtail the contagion – especially given the fact that China and Italy - as the countries most affected by Covid-19 - are just two of the biggest hubs of activity for textiles and fashion respectively.
But not to be forgotten are the small and independent businesses who are experiencing an inevitable threat to their profits too.
Pyer Moss founder and Haitian-American fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, is an influential figure in this industry, who has taken it upon himself to ensure that these small businesses (and their owners) do not fall to their demise in the wake of the global Covid-19 spread. Kerby took to Instagram last week to pledge $50 000 (over R880 000) for minority and women owned small creative businesses, making a call to action to those in distress to reach out to what one can assume is a newly founded initiative called Your Friends in New York.
Another act of goodwill that forms of part of the Pyer Moss initiative has been extended to the medical community. Their (Pyer Moss) New York City office has been converted into a donation center for N95 masks and latex gloves. Kerby’s team will also set aside $5 000 (approximately R88 200) to purchase these essential supplies.
Kerby Jean-Raymond’s European fashion counterparts are also doing their bit to alleviate any further calamity the pandemic may cause.
Below, we give you in brief how luxury Italian and French companies are making contributions to aid relief:
Dolce & Gabbana announced that it has partnered with Humanitas University to fund a coronavirus research project.
Giorgio Armani, which streamed their show during Milan Fashion Week after the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the city, has donated $1.43 million dollars to four hospitals in Rome and Milan, as well as to the Civil Protection Agency.
Following the news that the coronavirus death toll in Italy had increased by nearly 400 in 24 hours, rising from 1441 to 1809, Prada co-CEOs Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, and chairman Carlo Mazzi personally donated six intensive care and resuscitation units to three hospitals in Milan - San Raffaele, Sacco and Vittore Buzzi (a children's hospital).
LVMH, alongside other cosmetics groups including L'Oreal, is using some of its perfume factories to make hand sanitiser. LVMH, the parent company of Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, wants to help French health authorities by manufacturing hand sanitiser in its perfume factories, and providing it to them for free. “LVMH said it will use all the production facilities of its perfumes and cosmetics brands to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gel, or hand sanitiser”, a Reuters report said.
Meanwhile, ‘rival’ to LVMH, French luxury group Kering which owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta has a made a 2 million euro (over R38 million) donation to help fight against the coronavirus. Additionally the Paris-based company will give the French health service 3 million surgical masks which it plans to import from a Chinse supplier, and Gucci will produce and donate 1.1 million masks and 55 000 medical overalls to Italy.
Donatella Versace and her daughter, Allegra Versace Beck, have donated €200 000 (over R3 million) to the intensive care unit of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.
According to Vogue, early last month, Bulgari contributed to the research department at the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome, which was working to purchase a microscopic image acquisition system to help fight and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Sources: Independent UK, New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Reuters, Vogue online