More brands are pivoting factory resources to produce PPE supplies for frontline healthcare workers and coronavirus patients

By Alyssa Kelly
March 26, 2020 01:05 PM
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Gap Inc., Canada Goose, Armani and Ralph Lauren are all stepping up to help hospital workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gap Inc. — which owns Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Intermix, Athleta, Hill City and Janie and Jack —announced on Tuesday that its factories will begin making personal protective equipment (PPE) like gowns, masks and scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines of caring for those with the virus.

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In addition to manufacturing these materials, Gap Inc. has also taken steps to connect California hospitals with different supply vendors who have unused medical gear available.

Other majors brands like Canada Goose are also stepping up in this time of need. The company has repurposed two factories, with more available if necessary, to manufacture scrubs for healthcare workers as well as patient gowns to be donated for free to Canadian hospitals.

“Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the frontlines of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities, and they need help. Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good,” says President & CEO of Canada Goose, Dani Reiss, in a press release.

Reiss also told employees that he would not be taking a salary for the next three months at least, and instead would donate that money to the Canada Goose Employee Support Fund. The initiative was established to help workers affected by store closures who aren’t qualified for government aid.

On Thursday, Ralph Lauren and Armani Group both announced that the brands are doing its part to help during the pandemic as well.

Ralph Lauren is donating $10 million through the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to various coronavirus-related charities and funds. Money will provide financial grants for its colleagues facing special circumstances like medical, eldercare or childcare needs, contribute to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and support the Pink Pony Fund to help its long-standing network of international cancer institutions that are caring for people with cancer who are especially vulnerable at this time.

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The brand will also donate $1 million to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund which is raising money for coronavirus relief to support the American fashion community impacted by the pandemic.

In addition, Ralph Lauren is set to make 25,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 masks with its U.S. manufacturing partners, while assessing the technical requirements needed to make medical-grade equipment as well.

“As we face this challenge as a global community, our hope is to continue to be the beacon of optimism and unity that Ralph Lauren and our brands have always been to the world,” the brand stated on Instagram.

Also on Thursday, Armani Group, based out of Milan, announced its plan to which all of its production plants to manufacture single-use medical overalls for healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting coronavirus.

Thursday evening, L.A.-based clothing brand Reformation announced its partnership with the city of Los Angeles on the new project, LA Protects, which is an effort to rally local factories and manufacturing facilities to make non-medical masks for grocery store and pharmacy employees. As a result, medical-grade protective gear can be prioritized for healthcare workers.

Reformation is utilizing its sewing factory, fabrics from its warehouse and deploying its in-house teams to manufacture masks for the initiative. Customers can purchase non-medical masks on Reformation.com or donate masks to those in need through the website.

Last week, other fashion brands and designers have also offered their services and resources for making medical supplies. Fashion designer Christian Siriano volunteered to sew masks for New York hospital workers.

“If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some. I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help,” the designer said on Twitter.

Siriano’s Project Runaway costar Brandon Maxwell announced on social media that his factories would be pivoting to manufacturing PPEs as well.

“As more information becomes available on how to manufacture medical grade masks and gloves, we will transition in to doing so. Any information you can share for donating locations or organizations would be greatly appreciated,” Maxwell wrote on social media. “We are an industry that is nothing without ideas, and now is the time for us to come together as a community to use these ideas to give back.”

For donation information, Maxwell encouraged people to email info@brandonmaxwell.com.

More designers including Michael Costello, Los Angeles Apparel founder Dov Charney, Pyer Moss founder and designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and swimwear designer Karla Colletto also announced within the past few days that they too, will make medical products for area hospitals.