While the fashion industry is facing an unprecedented challenge right now (along with many industries), the good news is, several fashion brands and retailers are stepping up to help. From Cynthia Rowley and Christian Siriano to Ralph Lauren and Nordstrom, learn how multiple fashion brands are doing good by donating to COVID-19 support.
Fashion Designers Produce Face Masks & Supplies to Support COVID-19 Aid
Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley is currently working on producing face masks to assist people who are experiencing supply shortages. Because there is limited availability of stretchable fabric (which makes masks more comfortable to wear), she had a creative idea to use the neoprene material (as shown above on her wetsuit) to craft these masks. In addition to this, she also has shared a mask pattern on CynthiaRowley.com, which is available for you to download so that you can sew face masks at home as well. She says that “as a reminder, these are not medical-grade masks. they are meant to be used in a pinch; if you have to go for a walk or go to the store. Wear it to help prevent the spread of germs. Stay safe everyone!”.
Two other fashion designers that are currently working on the production of face masks are Christian Siriano and Michael Costello. Generally, these designers are busy crafting elaborate gowns and couture pieces (that are often worn by celebrities and fashion elite for red carpet events), so face masks are definitely a departure from their usual high-end designs. However, given the pressing need for face masks and hospital gowns right now, these haute couture designers are stepping up by giving back in any way they can, which is a great help to many.
As of March 26th, Michael Costello posted on his Instagram account that he and his staff “has worked tirelessly and helped make over 1250 masks”. While these are non-surgical grade masks, his goal is “to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” He says they “will not be selling any of these, but rather giving them away to all first responders, hospitals, and healthcare providers.”
On the same day, Christian Siriano shared on Instagram that their team had produced “1000 masks in 3 days!” His goal is to produce masks and medical supplies to to “make sure all the legal requirements are met”. He continued by exclaiming, “This is what Fashion is right now for us. Making hundreds of masks a day and that’s what we can do to help.”
J.McLaughlin shared that “with the immediate need for PPE masks, we have been hard at work, producing masks for Masks4Medicine, an organization started by a group of New York City doctors that are providing PPE masks to the frontline teams around New York City that are most in need.” They continued by sharing that “we have also made a donation to the Front Line Responders Fund – a fund that is transporting critical medical supplies to frontline responders combating COVID-19 as efficiently as possible.”
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group has partnered with JOANN fabric and craft stores “to make protective materials for medical personnel.” They are working together “to produce nonsurgical masks, gowns, and scrubs for front-line healthcare providers. Associates at Neiman Marcus Group’s alterations facilities will receive the product from JOANN to create these materials.” They said, “we’ll continue to produce this protective equipment as long as needed in support of those who are holding the front line of this pandemic.”
The Ralph Lauren Corporation is “starting the production of 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their U.S. manufacturing partners for donation to support the fight against COVID-19.”
Fashion Brands Donate Funds to Support COVID-19 Aid
In a magnanimous effort to support COVID-19 aid, The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is also “committing $10 million to COVID-19 relief. These funds will provide financial grants for Ralph Lauren colleagues facing special circumstances. (They will) contribute to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, support their long-standing network of international cancer institutions through the Pink Pony Fund, and support the American fashion community impacted by COVID-19 through the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.”
A couple of days ago, The Gap Foundation announced that it “is donating $1 million to local, state, national and international non-profit organizations to support underserved families during the crisis. Separately, Gap Inc. is also supplying millions of critical masks and gowns to brave healthcare workers. Gap Inc. teams are also lending space in their facilities to emergency responders on the ground.”
Kate Spade New York announced that “through The Coach Foundation, (they are) committing $2 million to New York City’s small business continuity fund for all the small businesses in NYC that make (their) hometown so incredibly special, and right now need some extra love and support.”
In addition to these contributions, L’AGENCE shares that “as a gesture of appreciation, they will be gifting over $500,000 of L’AGENCE denim to qualifying professionals in the medical field. Those who meet the criteria will receive a single pair of women’s denim free of charge, while supplies last. Due to current shipping restrictions, this offer is open only to US healthcare professionals.”
In an industry that is often wrought with big egos and fierce competition, it’s heartwarming to see so many fashion brands, retailers, and designers going above and beyond to help support COVID-19 aid right now. Especially during challenging times like now, these noble acts of service, philanthropy, and goodwill prove that the heart and soul of the fashion industry are alive and well.
[These photos were taken at the NYFW SS20 Cynthia Rowley Runway Show in September, 2019.]