Burberry, Emporio Armani and Dior are among the global fashion labels temporarily pivoting production to manufacture COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE), including mask and gowns.
Burberry revealed in a series of Instagram posts it is halting regular business at its Yorkshire factory, where the brand’s iconic trench coat, among other items, is made.
Instead, the luxury British label will produce 100,000 surgical masks for NHS staff as well as non-surgical masks and gowns for patients.
Burberry will also be donating to the University of Oxford’s research into a vaccine as well as two charities tackling food poverty, The Felix Project and FareShare.
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Responding to the move, Dr Najia Shaikh – an NHS GP and founder of One Skin Clinic on Harley Street – explained to Yahoo UK how brands donating equipment will need to adhere to certain guidelines.
“In Europe, all protective masks must comply with European Standards, for which under normal circumstances the NHS usually has set suppliers,” she explained.
“All PPE used within the UK must also be CE marked which means that its approved by the European Economic Area for Safety, Health & Environmental Protection Standards.
“There will of course be high standards that Burberry must adhere to, however as the level of protection provided by normal surgical masks is quite low, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to match the standard.”
The fashion house is joined by Italian label Emporio Armani who also shared on Instagram they’re. joining the effort.
French brand Dior revealed in a post they’re “proud” to be producing masks in its ateliers on a “voluntary basis”.
The brand added: “Dior is actively committed to aiding and protecting hospital staff, as well as all those who are on the front line every day, saving lives and caring for the sick.”
Similarly, American brand Ralph Lauren announced in an Instagram post that they are “starting the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with our US manufacturing partners for donation to support the fight against COVID-19”.
Another US-based designer, Christian Siriano, likewise revealed on Instagram yesterday that they had made 600 masks ready to ship.
American menswear label Brooks Brothers are also doing their bit, as they explained in their own post – converting three factories “from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks and gowns”.
According to Dezeen, Italian brand Prada is to supply 110,000 medical masks and 80,000 medical overalls from its Umbrian factory.
Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, owned by French luxury group Kering, are importing three million surgical masks to donate to the country’s health service, and they will also start to manufacture their own.
On the high street, the H&M Group – the Swedish umbrella company under which H&M, Cos, Monki, Weekday, Arket and & Other Stories sit – have joined in the goodwill.
They announced: “In support of the incredible medical teams around the world our company, H&M Group is taking action. Our global supply-chain are preparing the production of masks for healthcare workers.”
Spanish group, Inditex – who own Zara, Mango, Berksha, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius and Massimo Dutti – have also promised to start production on surgical masks, and have claimed to be distributing two million across the hard-hit nation.
Meanwhile, British outerwear brand, Labo Mono, have posted an online tutorial on Instagram teaching people to make their own masks.
They wrote: “Staying in isn’t just safe, it’s also the perfect moment to learn a new craft (and a handy one): how to make upcycled and washable face masks!”
Directing followers to visit the NHS’s website, the Hackney-based company added: “Please note that these masks are certainly not an ironclad guarantee that you won’t get sick: viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks.
“However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and prevent hand to mouth contact.”