As a new reality descends upon us, a host of fashion and beauty companies are stepping up—not with high heels and perfume but with face masks and hand sanitizer—because the real luxury now is staying alive.
Whether it’s designer Christian Siriano swiftly engaging his staff of sewers to make much-needed face masks, or Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH, transforming its perfume factories into hand-sanitizer assembly lines, these brands and many others have shown us that the fashion and beauty industries are here to help.
Here’s a look at some critical areas in which the sector is lending a much-needed hand:
New York designer Christian Siriano recently enlisted his 10 seamstresses to craft masks with the goal of producing a few thousand a week for medical workers in New York. H&M, Zara, and Prada are all jumping on board with the same goal for their European counterparts, while fashion group Kering has instructed Balenciaga, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent to follow suit in their respective workshops. Gucci has committed to producing more than a million masks and 55,000 medical overalls for Italy alone.
This is life for a little while I guess. But we made 1,000 masks in 3 days and they will be shipped tomorrow! Thank you to everyone who donated on https://t.co/ZfvbZbPFKH we can’t thank you enough. https://t.co/sqD9J6NmFs pic.twitter.com/BReWWvqDyh
— Christian Siriano (@CSiriano) March 26, 2020
And on our northern shores, Canada Goose is pressing its Toronto and Winnipeg factories into service to make scrubs and patient gowns for frontline workers here (additional factories will ramp up as required). The first batch of gear will be delivered as early as next week.
On March 16, heritage fragrance brand Guerlain turned its production site in Chartres, France, into a hand-sanitizer factory. Along with its LVMH siblings Parfums Christian Dior and Givenchy, it is now sending free hand sanitizer to the French health authorities and the AP-HP, Paris’ public hospital network.
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Meanwhile, one of the world’s biggest beauty producers, L’Oréal Group, is also turning its factories, including in Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec, into production facilities for hand sanitizer and hydroalcoholic gel to distribute throughout Europe and now Canada, while the Clarins Group has committed its production resources to provide hand sanitizer to hospitals in France. And luxury beauty line La Prairie’s parent company, Beiersdorf, will provide 500 tons of urgently needed disinfectants to critical public emergency services and personnel via its plants in Germany and Spain.
This side of the pond, the Body Shop is donating 30,000 units of cleansing products to organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including seniors’ centres around Vancouver. It has also provided each of its North American employees with hand-washing products so they can stay safe (so don’t be surprised if its online shelves are a little lean for the time being).
In addition to making a donation to GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, luggage company Away is also launching a thank-you note campaign across its global workforce to encourage team members to write messages of appreciation to nurses, doctors, and first responders who are on the front lines. In New York, Away is supporting the work of God’s Love We Deliver with a donation to fund emergency meals for the homebound, sick, and elderly in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut).
And last Saturday in Vancouver, Smash + Tess held an Instagram Live Romper Party in support of the relief efforts. In three hours, the best-selling romper brand raised $20,000 for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Response Fund with its flash sale.
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Meanwhile, Lululemon has created a $2-million global fund to help its brand ambassadors cover their basic operating costs and get back on their feet. (If you’re a Lululemon ambassador and you’ve been affected by this crisis, the application process is open March 25 to 30.)
Here are three ways that you, too, can help out:
Limited Edition Public Health Heroine T-Shirts
Calgary-based fashion brands SophieGrace and Madame Premier joined artist Mandy Stobo to launch a limited-edition T-shirt celebrating three Canadian public health heroines of the COVID-19 outbreak: British Columbia’s chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry; Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw; and Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
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Made from 100 per cent Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton, each T-shirt’s net proceeds will be donated locally to support food security: Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Fresh Routes in Calgary, and Second Harvest in Toronto.
Fenty Limited-Edition CLF Makeup Case and Killawatt Highlighter
Several celebrities have made generous donations to food banks and other relief programs, including Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. The powerhouse chanteuse and beauty empire queen founded the non-profit organization in honour of her grandparents in 2012 to help fund education, health, and emergency response programs around the world, particularly for underserved and marginalized communities. The foundation recently donated $5 million to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and other organizations serving marginalized communities in this crisis, and the proceeds of each purchase of either the Killawatt Highlighter (CLF Edition) or CLF Makeup Case will go to the same causes.
Everlane Human collection
Cult favourite fashion house Everlane pioneered radical transparency with its model where customers can see how much each item costs and then how much the company marks it up. Its 100% Human Collection supports human rights protection and the more ethereal idea that we are all more similar than different. For every 100% Human product sold, the company donates 100 per cent of the proceeds to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
Now’s the time to take care of each other. All profits from our 100% Human collection will support @feedingamerica to help provide supplies to food banks across the country, making sure that everyone has the food they need during this challenging time. https://t.co/6T6K70uRlR pic.twitter.com/HoKWw29NI1
— Everlane (@Everlane) March 19, 2020
High-end Riversol, a hypoallergenic, cruelty-free skin-care line made by Vancouver dermatologist Dr. Jason Rivers, is poised to launch its own hand sanitizer program and starting March 31 will offer any community organization in Canada that is still open a free case. It’s also offering one free hand sanitizer per full-size skincare order on its site. Individual hand sanitizers will also be sold separately for $5, as a non-profit item, with all proceeds from the sale directly supporting its hand-sanitizer donation drive across Canada.
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