The Fashion Industry Steps Forward To Help Those In Need During The COVID-19 Outbreak

Isha Mayer , 27 Mar 2020
Limerick Face Masks, Christian Siriano And Anita Dongre
Limerick Face Masks, Christian Siriano And Anita Dongre

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a lot of loss in terms of human life as well as financially. The whole world has come to a standstill with everyone quarantining at home. And, social distancing is the only way to flatten the curve, right? However, while most of us have the advantage to stay at home, there are people out there helping those in need such as doctors, grocery store vendors, sanitation workers, and other public service providers. It’s great to see how large companies and conglomerates have come out in support during this crucial period including the fashion industry.

Indian designers and international fashion giants have made contributions to help communities during this crisis. Even though the Coronavirus outbreak has caused all of them to shut shop, cancel fashion shows, and have caused them a huge financial loss, it’s very generous and thoughtful of these fashion brands to take measures to aid people.

Here’s how the Indian fashion industry is helping out.

1. Anita Dongre

House of Anita Dongre announced a medical fund of Rs. 1.5 crore to support smaller vendors, self-employed artisans, and partners who don’t have medical insurance or enough funds to prepare for any medical emergencies arising from the virus. Their direct employees already have medical insurance in place that covers them and their family members. However, in case of an additional emergency, this fund will be available for them too. 

2. Limerick by Abirr n’ Nanki

Founders of Limerick, Abirr and Nanki Papneja have introduced designer face masks for maximum protection when stepping out. The masks have been verified by a Bacteria Filtration Efficiency Test as per international standards. Each mask can be used up to three times after treating them with a disinfectant and washing it in cold water. The designer duo has also pledged to donate 3000 surgical masks, free of cost to the healthcare officials at Kasturba Hospital In Mumbai.

Face Masks By Limerick
Face Masks By Limerick

3. Karleo

Karleo has come up with the initiative of Masks For Humanity in which they will be manufacturing and distributing 5,000 masks. They have tied up with the BMC and will be supplying these masks to them to be distributed further in the city. These masks are primarily made for those who are working during this tough time and contributing to society on a daily basis such as sweepers, garbage pickers and many more.

Masks For Humanity By Karleo
Masks For Humanity By Karleo

4. Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI)

The FDCI has not only cancelled its much anticipated Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week this season but has also put out a note from Sunil Sethi, Board of Governors and FDCI team that they are in the process to help and find a solution for the design fraternity during this pandemic. And, they did. They have come up with the COVID-19 Support Fund (CSF by FDCI) to provide financial assistance to small businesses and young designers in need.

5. Sabyasachi And Ekaya

Designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Ekaya‘s Palak Shah have promised paid leaves to all of their employees.

Other Indian designers who have also shut all their stores in order to maintain social distancing include Tarun Tahiliani, Shantanu And Nikhil, House Of Masaba, Abujani And Sandeep Khosla, Anamika Khanna, Manish Malhotra and many more.

Here’s how the fashion giants have helped on the international front.

Fashion Councils

1. The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA)

In 2003, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF) was launched in order to help emerging talents in the industry that were affected due to the 9/11 tragedy. Two days ago, Anna Wintour from Vogue and Tom Ford, Chairman of the CFDA repurposed this fund by launching A Common Thread so that the retail and fashion businesses that are most affected can be supported during such a trying time. The CFDA announced this on their social media platform and mentioned,

The goal is to raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by COVID-19.⠀

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⁣The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF) was launched in 2003 in response to the 9/11 tragedy and how the crisis especially impacted emerging talent. Today, as we face another crisis that is challenging the entire fashion and retail business, Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Tom Ford, as CFDA’s Chairman, decided to repurpose the 2020 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund into a fundraiser to aid fashion businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.⠀ ⠀ Today marks the launch of CVFF’s “A Common Thread” fundraising and storytelling initiative spearheaded by Vogue and in collaboration with the CFDA. The goal is to raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by COVID-19.⠀ ⠀ Donors can support the fund by texting THREAD to 44-321.⠀ ⠀ Applications for funding will be available on from Wednesday, April 8th. #cvffacommonthread

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2. British Fashion Council (BFC)

The BFC has called all designers to get in touch with them and produce essential products including face masks as there has been a shortage of these resources. They have also been communicating with the UK government and mentioned on their Instagram handle,

Dear Fashion Community, We hope everyone is well and safe. In light of the Covid-19 uncertainty, please rest assured that the BFC is working to communicate the urgent challenges we as an industry are facing to Government. We are collating feedback from our business community whilst sharing the latest updates and advice from the UK government.



One of the largest conglomerates, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) that has design houses like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co, Dior and Givenchy under it, donated $2.2 million to China’s Red Cross Society last month. They have also started producing freehand santisers at three of their perfume and cosmetics factories so that it can be distributed to the French hospitals.

2. Kering

The Kering Group that houses some of the biggest fashion companies has decided to provide the French health services with 3 million surgical masks, which will be purchased and imported from China. French designer labels under this group are doing their bit too. Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) have begun the process of making masks but are also complying with safety regulations for their workers. Gucci plans to donate 1.1 million facemasks and 55 thousand medical overalls.

Design Houses and Brands

1. Donations by Versace, Armani, Bulgari and more

Donatella Versace and her daughter, Allegra have made a personal donation of 200,000 euros to the intensive care department of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.

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Giorgio Armani has also donated $1.4 million to many Italian hospitals to combat the outbreak. Bulgari and Dolce & Gabbana have provided financial aid to researchers and research departments in order to find solutions to this virus.

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“At Zegna we believe our actions today will shape our tomorrow. The pandemic we are all facing is a call for people around the world to take action. Each of us must do our part, in every way possible, to stop this global emergency”, says Gildo Zegna, CEO. The Zegna family, together with the Group’s top management have pledged personal donations to the Civil Protection in Italy totalling 3 MILLION EUROS. 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 the manufacturing of masks, that will provide critical supplies to both Zegna’s employees and to the wider needs in these countries. The Zegna Group has also made a direct financial contribution to provide several hospitals with ventilators. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and we join in the appeal to people in affected areas to stay at home and remain safe. UNITED, WE WILL MAKE IT.

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The Zegna Group along with its top management have pledged personal donations to the Civil Protection in Italy. The total amount comes up to 3 million euros. The donation is to support the nurses, doctors, scientists, and volunteers who are constantly working to fight this pandemic. Additionally, Zegna has also decided to produce medical masks (for their employees and those in need in Switzerland and Italy) as well as hospital suits for medical staff.

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Now more than ever, supporting each other in this time of need has become our mission. As we face this global challenge together, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is committing $10 million to help our teams and communities around the world. These funds will: Provide financial grants through the Emergency Assistance Foundation for Ralph Lauren colleagues facing special circumstances like medical, eldercare or childcare needs; Contribute to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, a global effort supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic; Build on our 20-year commitment to cancer care through our Pink Pony Fund by supporting our long-standing network of international cancer institutions that are caring for people with cancer who are especially vulnerable at this time; and Commit an inaugural gift to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) / Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 relief to support the American fashion community impacted by the pandemic. As we face this challenge as a global community, our hope is to continue to be the beacon of optimism and unity that Ralph Lauren and our brands have always been to the world.

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Ralph Lauren has also committed $10 million to teams and communities in need. In addition, the corporation has also started the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their U.S. manufacturing partners for donation to support the fight against COVID-19.

2. Production of medical supplies

When New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo expressed his concern on Twitter regarding the shortage of facemasks for healthcare workers, Christian Siriano jumped in and promised him that he and his team are ready to sew face masks And, they did! The team was able to make 1000 masks in just three days. Other designers have also come on board to make protective masks are Brandon Maxwell, Prabal Gurung, Prada, and Pyer Moss.

Bulgari has also started making hand sanitisers for Italian workers.

Fast fashion brands like H&M and Inditex have also altered their supply chains to produce protective gear and equipment to help those in need. Zara’s owner also announced that the company will be stitching hospital scrubs to help fight the virus in Spain.

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Fast fashion is stepping up its efforts to help fight coronavirus. H&M Group has pivoted some of its supply chain to produce protective equipment, leveraging its vast global network to start delivering to healthcare workers as soon as possible, according to a release. It follows similar efforts by rival group Inditex, which last week said it planned to repurpose part of its factory production and logistics network to produce urgently needed protective gear for hospital staff. Meanwhile, Spanish retailer Mango announced plans to distribute two million donated face masks to hospitals across Spain. Tune in to the BoF Coronavirus Liveblog to keep up to date on the latest developments. [Link in bio] 📷: @shutterstock

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Isn’t it amazing to see how the fashion industry globally has united to fight COVID-19 and support all the health care professionals who are trying to save the lives of so many? What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments below.

And, don’t forget to follow @missmalinifashion to get all the style updates!

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