Many other British sartorial stalwarts have answered the call to arms. Savile
Row’s Huntsman and Cad & The Dandy have
joined forces in a collaborative effort to sew scrubs for the NHS; Burberry haveretooledtheirYorkshire trenchcoat factory to make gowns and masks; New & Lingwoodaredonating 10per
centof profits toAge UK, aleading British charity for the elderly and vulnerable;and Anderson & Sheppardaregiving 10per
centof all online sales to Compliments of the House, a London food redistribution
charity helping deliver groceries to people in need.
With his normally sought-after tables empty during the lockdown,theLondon hospitality entrepreneur Richard Caring has devoted
the resources of his restaurant empire to feeding NHS staff, the underprivileged and isolated elderly people across
theU.K.capital. Chefs at Caring’s renowned restaurants—including The Ivy, Scott’s, Sexy Fish and 34 Mayfair, plustheseminal members’club Annabel’s—have beencooking up a storm for staff at St.Thomas’and St.Mary’shospitals, the Chelsea
& Westminster, Great Ormond Street,and West
Middlesex University Hospital. Caring has also partnered withthefood redistribution charity the Felix Project to provide sustenance to theelderlyand those battling the economic effects of this
While U.K.hotels are closed to the public, numerous five-star
properties—includingClaridge’s—are graciously accommodating healthcare heroes in style.
Claridge’s and its Maybourne Hotel Group
siblings,The Connaught andThe Berkeley, are also serving hundreds of meals each day to
workers in the NHS. Maybourne boss Paddy McKillen Sr. said:“We are honoured to help and support the dedicated NHS
workers at this critical time. We are forever in their debt.”
Giorgio Armani was one of the first of Italy’s fashion giants to react as the crisis unfolded, moving his
February shows behind closed doors, donating€2millionto hospitals in Milan, Rome, Bergamo, Piacenza and Versilia, and converting his Italian
factories to focus solely on the production of single-use medical overalls. He also took out 60 full-page ads in
Italian newspapers, paying tribute to the country’s valiant healthcare workers.
The Zegna family and upper management of Ermenegildo Zegna have made a personal donation
support medical efforts in Italy, and in midApril reopened facilities in Italy and
Switzerland, where the brand’s
workerswereproducing280,000 protective hospital suits. The company also gave a
$700,000 contribution towardsefforts in China.
Gildo Zegna, the Chief Executive,said:“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.”
The owners of Tod’s, Hogan, Fay,and Roger Vivier, the Della Valle family,havedonated€5mto a fund, Sempre con Voi(Always With You),that supports thefamilies
of healthcare workers who have died while treating those sufferingfromCovid-19.“Their selflessness and courage will forever be an example to
all of us,”the Della Valles said in a
statement.ThePrada proprietors,Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli,have donated six full intensive care and resuscitation units
to Milanese hospitals, and Prada’s factory in
Perugia committed to making 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks. Lardini also embarked on the manufacture of
60,000 protective masks, whichwere tobe used in
the brand’s homebase of Filottrano and neighbouring areas.
Leonardo Del Vecchio,thefounder and chairman oftheeyewear behemoth Luxottica (themakersof Ray-Ban and
Persol, among countless others), and Remo Ruffini of Moncler have each given€10mtowardsthe construction of a new hospital, housing hundreds of
intensive care units, in the Fiera Milano exhibition centre. Meanwhile, Dolce & Gabbanaarefunding research into the novel coronavirus at Humanitas
UniversityinMilan.“Supporting scientific research is a moral duty for
us;we hope that our contribution can help
resolve this dramatic problem,”the design duo
a host of initiatives to support the fight against Covid-19.They areproducing
respirator valves and fittings for protective masks in the prototyping lab oftheirMaranello factory, and havecreated a€2mfund to supply virus test kits, emergency vehicles, tablets
and other computer equipment to provide tele-medicine services and help local schools facilitate remote
learning,as well assupplyingfood for families in the region. The company’s chairman, C.E.O.and board of directors have pledged their salaries from April to the end of 2020 towards these
Jaguar and Land Rover have supplied several hundred vehicles for use by Red
Crosssocieties and other frontline services in
Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands. The sibling
automakers’U.K.facilities have also begun producing NHS-approved protective visors, with a goal of turning out
5,000 per week.Elon Musk, the founder
oftheelectric carmaker Tesla,says the company has sent 1,000 ventilators to U.S.hospitals and is close to perfecting a proprietary ventilator made using technology from the
marque’s Model 3.
In the early days of the outbreak,theFrench luxury leviathan LVMH gave $2.2mto the Chinese Red
Cross and shipped medical supplies to treatment centres in Wuhan.As the virus spread to Europe, the group repurposed its fragrance and cosmetics factories to
manufacture vast quantities of hand sanitiser(more than 60 tons of gel per week),which LVMH is providing gratis to French health authorities.
The 20,000 units of hand sanitiser made daily in the Italian factories of
LVMH-ownedBvlgariare being distributed to
hospitals in Italy, Switzerland the U.K..“I believe that a company is not only about maximising
profits at any cost but also about behaving as a responsible citizen within its community, from daily ethical
sourcing and sustainability initiatives to immediate reaction to contribute to natural disaster relief,”Jean-Christophe Babin, Bvlgari’s Chief Executive,
brand,Louis Vuitton,and othermaisonsare producing gowns for use by frontline medical
staff at Paris hospitals, but to better meet demand, LVMH also funded and arranged the importation of
40mface masks from China and purchased 80,000 gowns and 65,000 pairs of gloves for
health workers in France. The groupwasset to
deliver 261 lifesaving respirators to French hospitals by the end of April.
Their rival luxury giant Keringwassupplying the French health service with three million
surgical masks sourced from China, and manufacturing additional supplies in ateliers including the the Balenciaga
and Yves Saint Laurent workshops. Gucci, Kering’s flagship brand, began producing hundreds of thousands of masks and overalls for Italian
health workers in March.
Kering andtheirconstituent brands have also donated significant sums to Italy’s four major foundation hospitals in Lombardy, Veneto,
Tuscany and Lazio, supported the Institut Pasteur’s coronavirus research
efforts,and given generously to the Hubei Red
Cross Foundation in China.
Hermès havecommitted to donating€20mto Parisian hospitals
andwereproducing copious amounts of hand
sanitiser attheirfragrance factories. The
183-year-old, familycontrolled companywasforegoing government subsidies and will be fully funding
the continuedpaidemployment of its 15,500
personnel, even though production is halted for the time being.
Similarly, Chanel haveguaranteedtheywill maintain
the employment oftheir8,500 staff on full pay
throughout the lockdown. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the brand has supported more than 80 non-profit
organisations providing crisis relief in France, Italy, the U.K., China, South Korea and
the US.Intheirhomeland of France, where Chanelwereproducing masks and gowns attheirateliers, they havepledged€1.2mto the hospital system. In the U.S., Chanel haveallocated $2min funding to support patients and workers in hospitals,
address the needs of those suffering due to the economic downturn, and help women and girls affected by the
entrepreneur Johann Rupert, charity begins at home—and one writes one’s own
cheques. The chairman of Richemont (theowner of
leading luxury brands including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, Dunhill, A. Lange & Söhne, IWC,and Panerai, among others) has admirably contributed one billion rand—about $53m—from his personal fortune to help sustain South African businesses assailed by the human and
economic effects of the crisis.
Stateside, as is often the case, Ralph Lauren leads the way. In March, the American style
legend announced a $10mdonation to Covid-19 crisis relief. Fundswere togo towardsa variety of initiatives, including grants aiding
individuals around theworldbeset by financial or
medical challenges as a result of thevirus;backing for the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19SolidarityResponse Fund;cancer care;and support forstruggling
fashion companies. Additionally, the brandweremanufacturing 250,000 masks and 25,000 gowns for healthcare professionals.
“At the heart of our company, there has always been a
spirit of togetherness that inspires our creativity, our confidence and most importantly our support for one
another,”Lauren saidwhen announcing the multimillion-dollar commitment.“In the past weeks and months, that spirit has never wavered.
We believe that no matter who you are or where you are from, we are all connected. That is why we are taking
significant action to help our teams and communities through this crisis.”
One million of Lauren’s dollars will be used to seed A Common Thread, a fund set up by the Council of Fashion
Designers of America (CFDA) andVogueto
assist American fashion labels at risk of folding during the crisis. Sums of between $25,000and$75,000 will be granted to struggling designers in an
attempt to help keep them afloat.
“We’re not naïve about
this,”Vogue’s Anna Wintour toldThe New York Times.“We know we
can’t help everybody. And maybe some of the
people we do help won’t make it. But we wanted
to show there is a support system in fashion. That there is a future.”Tom Ford, theCFDA chairman,is donating 10per
centofall his brand’s online sales to the cause.
TheAmerican‘Ivy Style’outfittersBrooks Brothers
haveconvertedtheirfactories in New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts
from sewing shirts, ties and suits to producing gowns and masks—150,000 of the latter each day. New-school preppy style-mongers Rowing Blazers, meanwhile, are
making sustainable masks from offcuts of their distinctive jackets and rugby jerseys. One mask is being donated to
Food Bank (which distributes meals to the vulnerable) for every piece sold, and 10per centof all the company’s sales during this time are being donated totheanti-poverty non-profitorganisationDirect Relief.
Initially shut down to comply with shelter-in-place measures, one of New York’s most luxurious hotels, the Four Seasons, has reopened
specifically toprovide free rooms to medical personnel from nearby hospitals such
asMount Sinai, NYU Langone, Bellevue and Weill Cornell Medical Center.
In Las Vegas, MGM Resorts donated enough food to provide 250,000 meals to community
members in need. Las Vegas Sands Corp. has donated two million medical masks and 20,000 protective suits to
healthcareworkersoperating in New York and
Nevada, while restaurants at the affiliated Marina Bay Sands in Singapore donated 15,000kg of food—much of it from gourmet, celebrity-chef
restaurants—to charity ahead of the
property’s closure during the city’s lockdown.
JoséAndrés, anoted culinary
philanthropist long before the pandemic,has provided meals to quarantined
cruise-ship passengers and has transformed eight
of his U.S.restaurants—many boasting Michelin stars—into community kitchens,feeding those going hungry during the crisis.“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to create both a public health and economic catastrophe. But
we cannot afford to ignore the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding out of sight,”Andrés wrote in aNew York Timesopinion piece.“Our fate as
a nation depends on how we feed our most vulnerable citizens through this crisis,”headded,prioritising frontline workers, the elderly,andthepoverty stricken, especially children.
The examples go on and on, so you’ll forgive us if we’ve
omitted to mention any notable instances of coronavirus-related generosity. Doubtless we have. Suffice to say, it is
both heartening and inspiring to see so many businesses and individuals famed for purveying luxuries stepping
up—and in many cases, making significant
sacrifices—to provide the affected, afflicted
and the less fortunate with necessities during these trying times.