As the pandemic refuses to loosen its hold, more and more brands are being proactive and mindful about their role in saving the world. These fashion and beauty brands are going all out to combat the crises arising from COVID-19.
(*We are constantly updating this story as more information on how brands are helping during the pandemic comes our way)
Luxury brand Bottega Veneta has launched a virtual residency programme intending to spread positivity. This multi-platform plan will see a muse, collaborator, or talent take over the newly-created mini-site showing off works that inspire them (film, music or art). On weekends, the platform will host cooking segments from chefs and/or host live music performances with a Sunday movie night thrown into the mix. You can access the Residency through Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud, as well as Bottega Veneta’s website.
The Italian high-fashion label has also announced a €300,000 donation to fund scientific research in three regions of Italy. The sum will be used to provide an additional two years’ of funding for a pulmonology researcher at the University of Padua, and two scholarships at the Virology Laboratory of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome and the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory of the Hospital Domenico Cotugno in Naples.
The beauty giant, along with its corporate foundation The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation (ELCCF), has pledged to help support efforts to control the outbreak worldwide. Measures include establishing a grant for the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, a $75 million (Rs 571 cr approx) philanthropic project involving multiple partners. The fund aims to support key social services and community organisations, in the company’s home city of New York.
Additionally, a donation of US$2 million (Rs 15.24 cr approx) is made to the non-profit organisation Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It has also directed $800,000 (Rs 6.1 cr approx) to the Red Cross Society of China, Shanghai Charity Foundation and Give2Asia, in addition to making in-kind donations with a value of $1.4 million (Rs 10.67 cr approx) to the China Women’s Development Foundation. The brand has also reopened its Melville, NY, manufacturing facility to produce hand sanitizer for high-need groups and populations.
The luxury goods giant, LVMH, is converting three of its perfume manufacturing facilities to make hand sanitisers, replacing fragrances for Dior and Givenchy. They will be donated to hospitals around France, which is currently experiencing a nationwide shortage of antibacterial gel. That’s not all. Earlier this year, the Paris-based conglomerate donated Rs 17.5 cr (approx) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation in response to the shortage of medical supplies in Wuhan.
Additionally, Dior has joined the fight against the pandemic, confirming that one of its workshops has started to produce face masks. The luxury fashion brand took to their Instagram to post a statement, ”Dior is actively committed to aiding and protecting all those who are on the front line every day. Thank you to our wonderful petites mains who, in an exceptional show of solidarity, are working tirelessly to protect them. #DiorStandsWithYou”
Prada, whose factory in Montone is now being used to manufacture 110,000 masks and 80,000 overalls, is donating to hospitals in Tuscany. Prada has also funded six new ICUs across hospitals in Milan. Parent company, Kering group has also pledged Rs 6.8 cr (approx) to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation.
Donatella Versace and her daughter Allegra have made a personal donation of Rs 1.6 cr (approx) to the intensive care unit of the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.
The Oregon-based sportswear giant Nike has donated US$10 million (Rs 76 cr approx) to the Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Community Recovery Fund, and the Oregon Health & Science University — all organisations providing coronavirus relief. On top of that, The Nike Foundation has also contributed US$1 million (Rs 7.6 cr approx) to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Moncler’s CEO Remo Ruffini has donated €10 million (Rs 90 cr approx) to fund the construction of a hospital in Lombardy, the worst-hit region in Italy.
Independent fashion designer Brandon Maxwell has started the production of medical supplies. Through a statement on Instagram, Maxwell shared that his brand is now in the midst of focusing on creating gowns for doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients. The American designer also intends to make medical-grade masks and gloves as soon as more information on manufacturing them becomes available.
Similarly, Siriano and his team are working to produce a few thousand masks a week for hospitals in New York. The masks, while washable and reusable, are not medical grade, but the Project Runway winner plans to acquire the approved materials and patterns to meet official health standards.
After calling Kendall Jenner out for downplaying the pandemic, Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni launched her own online fundraising campaign last week. It has since accumulated over €4 million (Rs 33 cr approx) for Italian hospitals.
New York designer Kerby Jean-Raymond (whom you might recognise as a guest judge on Next in Fashion) has turned the headquarters of his label, Pyer Moss, into a donation centre. As the city’s hospitals are running short on N95 masks and latex gloves, the Pyer Moss founder is encouraging fellow New Yorkers to mail brand new supplies to his office to be redistributed.
Jean-Raymond is also pledging US$5,000 (Rs 3.8 lakh approx) for the cause. That’s on top of the US$50,000 (Rs 38 lakh approx) that his brand is setting aside for smaller, minority- and women-owned creative businesses in the city that are suffering from the financial impact of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Zegna Group of Italian luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna has pledged a donation of €3 million (Rs 25 cr approx) to the Civil Protection in Italy. This donation is in support of the nurses, doctors, scientists, and volunteers across Italy who have been working tirelessly to fight this epidemic. The Zegna Group will also convert a part of its production facilities in Italy and Switzerland to manufacture medical masks, which will provide critical supplies to both Zegna’s employees and to the wider needs in Italy and Switzerland. Additionally, they will also produce protective hospital suits for medical staff.
Kering-owned Gucci is producing 1.1 million masks and 55,000 pairs of medical overalls. Gucci will make two separate donations of €1 million each (Rs 8.34 cr each approx) to crowdfunding campaigns: Locally, in Italy for the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo; and globally, for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization, through a matching campaign with Facebook.
“We Are All In This Together” is the call to action that will accompany Gucci’s crowdfunding campaign along with an illustration gifted by Rome-based artist MP5, depicting a person holding their hand to their heart in a symbol of solidarity. Starting tomorrow, Gucci will also put its social media accounts (along with links to donate), with over 70 million followers, at the disposal of the World Health Organization, to help in amplifying official public service information to protect the health, safety and well-being of the community.
The international label has also been sensitive to the escalating gender-based violence at this time, and recently launched their #StandWithWomen Campaign. Part of their flagship Chime for Change campaign, and in partnership with the Kering Foundation, Gucci is expanding Chime’s funding to non-profit organisations that are on the frontlines of supporting women and girls around the world. One can directly donate at globalgiving.org/standwithwomen and support the campaign and their NGO partners who are responding to the increase in violence against women.
After announcing an important donation to the Spallanzani Hospital to acquire a new state of the art 3D high definition microscope, Bvlgari has announced its further contribution to the national effort to prevent and eradicate COVID-19. In partnership with its long-term fragrance manufacturer ICR, Bvlgari has launched hand cleansing gel. The hand gel will be distributed in 75ml recyclable bottles through the Protezione Civile (Italian Civil Protection Department) to help the most critical infrastructures today waging war against the virus. Bvlgari plans to manufacture hundreds of thousands of bottles in the coming months. The Bvlgari Hand cleansing gel is not used with water, but simply by putting it on hands.
Bvlgari will also donate no less than 160,000 units of medical-grade hand sanitiser to British authorities, who will, in turn, distribute them to the UK’s National Health Service.
Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI)
FDCI will provide financial assistance to small businesses and young designers in need. The council, the board, and chairman Sunil Sethi are putting in the seed funds to get this rolling.
The idea stems from wanting to support smaller businesses (with tremendous potential) that are run like a one-person-army; one individual taking care of a team of craftsmen, playing the role of a manufacturer, salesperson, accountant, promoting and providing for his/her little family and bursting with ideas. A lot of them are not in a position (or have the luxury of time) to process formal paperwork to seek support from banks / financial institutions, which is where FDCI will step in and help.
Global fashion luxury group Capri Holdings, which manage luxe companies like Michael Kors, Versace, and Jimmy Choo, has announced donations of over $3 million in support of the COVID-19 relief efforts.
Michael Kors will donate $1 million to support local relief efforts in the US. Founder Michael Kors and John Idol will make personal contributions of an additional $1 million. The combined $2 million will be distributed within these organisations: NYU Langone Health and New York-Presbyterian Hospital ($750,000), God’s Love We Deliver ($250,000), and A Common Thread, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 Relief ($250,000).
Versace is donating a total of $500,000 to support local efforts in Milan. This is in addition to the ¥1 million that Versace donated in February to support the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. Additional funds will be distributed within these organisations: San Raffaele Hospital ($400,000) and Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana ($100,000).
Jimmy Choo will donate $500,000 to support relief efforts both in London and globally. Additionally, the National Health Service COVID-19 Urgent Appeal by NHS Charities Together will receive $250,000 and WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund will receive $250,000.
MAC Cosmetics has announced that its long-standing VIVA GLAM campaign – which supports organisations and programs providing essential needs and services to vulnerable communities – will accelerate a $10 million (Rs 76 cr approx) donation to 250 organisations, enabling them to continue their vital services in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional support will provide MAC’s existing partners with emergency COVID-19 relief funds to continue providing vital services, including delivering food supplies, ensuring clients remain informed and on medication, and testing and treating diagnosed cases, particularly those who are immuno-compromised.
In the wake of coronavirus crises, the Armani Group has stated that all of its Italian production plants have now switched to manufacturing single-use medical overalls, to be used for the individual protection of healthcare workers.
Following the donation to National Civil Protection Department and the Luigi Sacco, San Raffaele, Istituto dei Tumori hospitals in Milan, and Istituto Spallanzani in Rome, Giorgio Armani has also contributed to hospitals in Bergamo, Piacenza and Versilia in the Tuscany region, for a total donation of €2 million (Rs 16.46 cr approx).
The American multinational beauty and skincare company has announced that it will start producing hydro-alcoholic hand sanitisers gel. The products are free of charge and will be distributed to medical and emergency staff services that are facing shortage amid the fight against coronavirus. The first batch of hand sanitisers has already been out in the US and Monaco, and additional factories will start production within a week.
Ralph Lauren has also jumped the bandwagon to fight against COVID-19 pandemic. They have committed $10 million (Rs 76.4 cr approx) to the cause. The amount will be distributed among the following: Employees with medical, eldercare or childcare needs, WHO solidarity fund, the council of fashion designers of America (CFDA) / vogue fashion fund to support the American fashion community. The amount will also include their 20-year commitment to cancer care through the pink pony fund, which will especially work towards cancer patients who are most vulnerable at this time.
In addition to that, they will also commence the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns. Ralph Lauren has also made salary cuts and incentive cuts among the to-tier colleagues to support the consistent growth of their employees.
Tiffany & Co.
The 182-year-old iconic jewellery brand Tiffany is the latest in showing solidarity with the relief efforts. They have announced a $1 million commitment to COVID-19 related causes through The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Out of this amount, $7,50,000 will be given to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. The other $2,50,000 will be given to The New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.
In addition to this, it has signed onto Philanthropy’s Commitment During COVID-19 Pledge, a collective of over 500 philanthropic organisations working to support members of the nonprofit sector, as well as individuals and communities impacted by the pandemic by directing them toward grants.
The culture-first Indian brand, Bhaane has decided to pump up the solidarity efforts amid COVID-19 by partnering with an animal welfare NGO Friendicoes-SECA, and a network of police verified animal feeders across the cities. The company will be donating 100 per cent of Bhaane’s e-shop revenue during the lockdown period of 21 days to Friendicoes. Their #BhaaneForLife goal seeks to provide meals to street animals. They have also suggested for you to do your bit by following these simple steps:
Leave a bowl of water and a slice of bread at your gates/windows.
Cook extra and feed when you step out for your errands.
Help feeders with more food.
Apply for a feeder’s pass. (the government has issued 50 passes per district)
Shop on bhaane.com.
After announcing a medical fund of Rs 1.5 crore, House of Anita Dongre has started producing cloth masks. The production of these masks has begun in two of the five rural village centres that were initiated in collaboration with the Maharashtra state government four years back, starting with Charoti. Starting this week, these centres have had voluntary participation of about 24 women who will be able to create up to 7000 masks each week for distribution to NGOs, village residents, individuals, and hospitals.
French fashion house Louis Vuitton has converted its French workshops in Marsaz and Saint-Donat (Drôme), Saint-Pourçain (Allier), Ducey (Manche), and Sainte-Florence (Vendée) to produce non-surgical face masks. Three hundred artisans have been authorised in response to the French government’s plea for the alternative non-surgical masks to aid in the battle against COVID-19. These masks were approved by different governing bodies and are created in collaboration with Mode Grand Ouest, a regional network of the textile industry (one of the main materials suppliers).
LV has also started producing gowns in its ready-to-wear atelier located on Paris’ rue du Pont Neuf, home to the French House’s headquarters. These gowns will be provided to frontline workers in six Parisian hospitals of the “Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris”. As of now, twenty volunteers are working to create thousands of gowns in AP-HP approved fabrics and patterns. While all gowns are currently manually cut in the Pont Neuf workshop, voluntary Louis Vuitton pattern cutters will work from home simultaneously to those in the atelier.
Ready-to-wear brand Maje has joined in the fight against the coronavirus with several initiatives, notably in the region of Paris where it has distributed 12,000 FFP1 masks to retirement homes, schools and security forces. The brand has also produced 12,000 reusable surgical hygiene caps with leftover fabric that will be sent to hospitals across Europe. More than 1,000 of the caps have already been donated to charities working with vulnerable populations in France, Italy and Spain. These initiatives are ongoing and will continue in the coming weeks.
Nail-beauty brand OPI has donated 2,000 creams and 2,500 pairs of moisturising gloves to the staff of retirement homes and hospitals in the French Grand Est, which is one of the regions of the country that has been worst hit by the coronavirus. The idea of the products is to help carers look after their hands with treatments that counter the dehydrating effects of sanitiser.
The French luxury house, which has been playing an active role in the ongoing health crisis, has announced its participation in a fundraiser to support the fight against COVID-19. In partnership with (RED), an association founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, and Akoni, Balmain has donated 12 pairs of sunglasses, which will be exclusively sold on NTWRK (Thentwrk.com). All of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response. The sale opened Tuesday, April 28 and will run until May 4.
Avon joins the COVID-19 relief bandwagon after announcing $1 million to the frontline services and charity organisations around the world. This is in tandem with Avon’s #IsolatedNotAlone campaign, which is to support women suffering from domestic violence in the lockdown. The grants will be shared across 37 countries, including Brazil, Mexico, India, Philippines, Germany and the UK.
In India, Avon has partnered with three NGOs – Shakti Shalini, Swayam, and Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) – to provide a total grant of Rs 94 lakhs approx. Shakti Shalini to set up ‘Response Mechanisms’, which will provide support in the form of crisis intervention, counselling, legal aid, mental and physical healthcare, shelter, and more. Swayam will use the funds to provide 400 women survivors of violence and their children. FPAI will use the grant to provide essential services in rural communities across the country, including counselling for vulnerable women and children.
Featured image: Getty Images