Burberry retools iconic trench coat factory to produce medical gear to fight Covid-19
Burberry is the latest fashion brand to announce it is focusing its efforts on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and will be repurposing its iconic trench coat production factory in Castleford, Yorkshire to produce non-surgical gowns and masks for patients.
Other efforts by the British luxury label will see it supplying 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS and donating to charities, including FareShare and The Felix Project, to help provide food to those who need it in the UK.
“In challenging times, we must pull together. The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat Covid-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time,” Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said in a statement. “Covid-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”
The company will also be funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. The university’s head of medical sciences, professor Gavin Screaton, said: “We are delighted with Burberry's generous support for the University's research into a vaccine for Covid-19. Burberry's gift is an example of forward-thinking corporate philanthropy that complements and bolsters government and other investment in Oxford’s leading global talent in this field. Donations like this have real and rapid impact, allowing us to be agile in our response, to accelerate this time-critical research.”
Burberry earlier this month announced that its trading had deteriorated significantly since 24 January due to the impact of Covid-19 with its retail store sales tracking between negative 40 percent and negative 50 percent over a six week period.
Burberry is just the latest fashion company to get involved in the fight against Covid-19. Just a few others to get involved in relief efforts include fashion giants Kering, LVMH and H&M which all offered medical gear to professionals on the frontline of the fight against the virus, while footwear brand Crocs offered free shoes to US healthcare workers. Additionally, the British Fashion Council last week the British launched a Covid Crisis Fund to support creative fashion businesses and individuals during the crisis.
Chanel produces face masks as contribution to virus relief
Chanel has announced that it will begin production protective face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The French luxury house is currently making prototypes and will roll out production upon approval from the French government.
The company previously announced that it would halt production of its own merchandise for a short period of time as a result of the global pandemic. It has also canceled its upcoming cruise show, scheduled for spring.
Despite the virus' impact on Chanel's business, the company has been steadious in contributing to resolution. It has already pledged 1.2 million euros to the French public hospital system in France, and is continuing to pay its workers eight weeks worth of salaries despite closures of operations.
Fellow French luxury groups, including LVMH and Kering, have already begun lending their facilities to the production of medical equipment. According to the country's health minister, France goes through 40 million protective masks per week and is in need of more production.
Armani's Italain factories to make medical overalls
Fashion brand Armani said on Thursday it would start making single use medical overalls for hospital workers at all its Italian factories.
The group - whose brands include Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani - said they would be used for "the individual protection of healthcare workers engaged in the fight against the Coronavirus disease."
Founder Giorgio Armani has donated 2 million euros (2.2 million US dollars) in recent weeks to hospitals around Italy, including Bergamo and Piacenza in the hard-hit north, the company said.
The company operates four factories in Italy, a spokeswoman told AFP. Like many other fashion brands, Armani has in recent years moved much of its production out of Italy to other countries where labour costs are lower.
Carhartt shifts production to support those on the frontline of pandemic crisis
American workwear company Carhartt has changed its production plans for the time being. According to an announcement from the brand, Carhartt will be shifting its U.S. production to create gowns and masks for support those working on the frontlines against the COVID-19 pandemic to protect themselves.
Carhartt will begin producing medical gowns on April 6 and is scheduled to manufacture 2.5 million masks on April 20. According to the announcement, the brand will continue producing these critical items as long as they are in short supply.
“Sewing and answering the call during times of need has always been an integral part of Carhartt’s history and it’s why consumers have trusted us to have their back for more than 130 years,” said the brand’s chief executive officer Mark Valade. “We are humbled and honored to help all the essential workers serving and protecting us right now.”
Carhartt will continue to provide compensation for its manufacturing facilities for contributing to support the country’s need for medical personal protective gear. While the brand shifts its production to meet nationwide needs for protective supplies, it is also taking recommended protocols to ensure a safe work environment for its employees such as social distancing, limiting the number of employees and increasing sanitation measures within facilities.
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