How the Royal Family's Favorite Fashion Brands Are Helping in the Fight Against Coronavirus
Prince Charles' shirtmaker, Queen Elizabeth's dressmaker and Meghan Markle's Welsh jean-maker are all helping to flatten the COVID-19 curve
Turnbull & Asser — which received a royal warrant from the Prince of Wales in 1980 — revealed Thursday that it has closed down its stores and workrooms to make vital protective scrubs for the “incredible individuals” working in the U.K.s National Health Service.
“Over the past few weeks, it has become abundantly clear that the future of human prosperity sits firmly with our frontline workers,” managing director Jonathan Baker posted on the 135-year-old firm’s website and social media.
“We’re proud to say that a dedicated team of Turnbull machinists and management have stepped up to serve those who serve our country; creating scrubs for those on the frontline.”
The heritage brand is working on an initial batch of 4,000 scrubs to help protect the key medical workers, having hired new machinery, repurposed its supply chain and equipped its highly-skilled staff with personal protective equipment.
“We’re proud to say that a dedicated team of Turnbull machinists and management have stepped up to serve those who serve our country; creating scrubs for those on the frontline,” added Baker.
“We believe compassion is key to overcoming this historic hurdle, and we hope all employees of the National Health Service can feel truly appreciated for all their hard work. In turning our hand to the production of scrubs, we hope to do our bit in expressing that gratitude.”
This isn’t the first time that Turnbull & Asser has helped out in times of crisis: During World War I the high-end tailors developed garments for British soldiers; while in World War 2 they created Sir Winston Churchill’s unique, distinctive wardrobe.
They’re also just one of many royal fashion favorites helping in the fight against COVID-19.
Stewart Parvin, couturier to the Queen, is also doing his bit to help. Having dressed the Queen since 2001, he’s currently busy manufacturing scrubs for a local hospital and encouraged others to get involved in a heartfelt message on Instagram.
“If you would like to get involved as a home sewer, or as a business with work space, there are several groups set up on social media that are co-ordinating the effort,” he wrote, adding: “As ever, our most grateful thanks to all those risking their own health and working tirelessly to look after and protect us all.”
Vin & Omi, the sustainable brand who have been collaborating with Prince Charles to turn his garden waste into avant-garde clothing, led the way several weeks ago, sewing masks for health workers using their own pattern and material scraps from their studio. They also called on all home sewers to join them by posting the instructions online.
The conceptual designers have so far made 3400 masks for NHS England, NHS Scotland, care homes and frontline workers in the South-East and Midlands of England.
Meanwhile, Huit jeans – a favorite of Meghan Markle – are also creating medical scrubs from their factory in Cadigan, Wales.
"Many of my fellow designers are doing the same and there’s no shortage of great DIY masks online," said NONIE founder and creative director, Nina Kharey. "With more of us creating, I think we can meet the tremendous public demand for this good. By choosing one of our masks, your money will go towards supporting our contractors, our team, and also our commitment to donate personal protective equipment to key organizations in need."
In Yorkshire, luxury fashion house Burberry — which holds warrants from both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles — has also switched from making trench coats in favor of surgical masks, non-surgical masks and gowns for use by medical staff and patients.
“In challenging times, we must pull together,” Marco Gobbetti, CEO of Burberry, said in a release, adding that Burberry is also funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and donating to charities tackling food poverty across the UK, such as FareShare and The Felix Project.
“The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time,” he added.
“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”
Royal milliners are also backing a new initiative in the U.K. to produce protective visors to NHS workers across London.
Rachel Trevor-Morgan, milliner to the Queen, announced on Instagram that her team were joining the “Visor Army,” a community-based volunteer group making medical visors at home for ICU doctors and nurses, putting their lives at risk to treat coronavirus patients.
Awon Golding, who has made hats for both Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, also posted a similar message, asking for donations to help with the life-saving project “Visor Army – Make a Visor, Save a Hero.”
The initiative is the brainchild of ICU consultant Deborah Braham. Constructed from acetate sheets, foam padding and elastic, 3000 visors have been made so far.