This is a time when everything is in short supply – most notably items for PPE for hospital staff. However, luxury brands are filling in the gaps to manufacture essential items for frontline hospital staff – this is in addition to huge donations to hospitals made by some companies.
Since nobody’s buying luxury goods to flaunt in public, going this direction is a great way to help their own countries and ensure that their employees continue to be employed. Here are some luxury companies that have stepped into the production of Covid-19 necessities:
Luxury carmakers making respirators
Luxury car manufacturers are now using their engineering superiority in making F1 cars into making respirators for hospitals to meet the demands in Europe. These include Ferrari, which is racing to make ventilators for Italy, while MacLaren, Aston Martin, and Rolls Royce will supply the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Meanwhile, the Mercedes F1 team, in partnership with University College London (UCL), are manufacturing redesigned Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing devices in Mercedes’ factories that normally make F1 pistons and turbochargers.
If you’re wondering what Lamborghini is doing for Italy, it’s not respirators: their craftspeople are hand-stitching 1,000 masks and 3D-printing 200 face shields a day.
Medical overalls and masks by luxury brands
Armani’s Italian production plants are being redirected to produce single-use medical overalls in an effort to support healthcare workers Italy. Meanwhile, Prada has begun production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks – produced at its factory normally used to produce blazers and blouses – at the request of authorities in Tuscany.
In France, Chanel has started manufacturing gowns and masks for medical professionals, as well as 50,000 masks for police officers, firefighters, and officials who visit hospitals. The country goes through 40 million masks a week, and like everywhere else, is suffering from a shortage of them.
British heritage brand Burberry is using its Yorkshire factories to produce hospital gowns and masks for the doctors and nurses of UK’s NHS. It’s also making nonsurgical masks and gowns for patients.
Over in the USA, Ralph Lauren is producing 250,000 face masks and 25,000 gowns for healthcare workers.
Big-name fashion face masks?
Governments around the world are encouraging people wear “simple cloth face coverings” to cover their nose and mouth to help “slow the spread of the virus” since N95 masks are meant for frontline workers who are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, surgical gloves, and gowns.
While a large number of fashion brands are making consumer masks, some luxury brands have been quick to use their factories to manufacture surgical-grade masks for the healthcare industry.
Luis Vuitton has repurposed several of the maison’s ateliers across France in order to help manufacture up to 100,000 masks a week for healthcare workers. Fellow French atelier Christian Dior has also turned its ateliers into production facilities to manufacture face masks.
Italian brand Gucci is making more than 1m face masks to combat the shortage among healthcare workers. Even Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga will be manufacturing masks complying with the “strictest protection measures” for healthcare workers.
These masks are for use on the frontlines of Covid-19, and not “designer” masks that have popped up recently – like LV’s ridiculously steampunk mask, or the rudimentary cloth mask from Fendi that looks like the free masks you get from the CC.
Hand sanitisers by fashion brands
With alcohol hand sanitisers in short supply, it seems there are plenty of brands stepping into the void – from craft beer brewers Brewdog to luxury fashion brands.
Bulgari has produced alcohol hand sanitisers in large quantities, which are entrusted to Italian civil protection to be distributed to the frontlines.
In France, Parfums Givenchy and Parfums Christian Dior – both owned by fashion conglomerate LVMH – have produced hand sanitiser gels packaged in their existing perfume bottles.