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Coronavirus: LVMH, Kering, H&M offer medical masks to fight pandemic

By Huw Hughes


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Fashion heavyweights Kering, LVMH and H&M are among the companies donating masks to help medical professionals on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.

The news come as the virus continues to spread across the world and disrupt global supply chains. Covid-19 has already had a huge effect on the fashion industry, resulting in countless fashion events being postponed or cancelled and stores and other business facilities being closed.

LVMH offers 10 million masks

To help fight the virus, French luxury conglomerate LVMH announced it has managed to secure an order with a Chinese industrial supplier of 10 million masks to be distributed in France in the coming days. The order will be repeated for a minimum of four weeks in similar quantities, resulting in an expected total of around 40 million masks. LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault will be financing the first week of deliveries - amounting to five million euros.

The news comes after the company last week announced it would be retooling all its production facilities in France for its perfumes and cosmetics division to instead manufacture hydroalcoholic gel to be provided to public authorities.

Kering donates masks, prepares to manufacture its own

Fellow French luxury giant Kering has offered three million medical masks, purchased and imported from China, to the French health service in the coming days. The group is also preparing the workshops of its Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent labels to manufacture their own masks.

Additionally, the company said it has donated an undisclosed amount to the Institut Pasteur to support its research into Covid-19. This follows the announcement earlier this month that Kering had made donations to the four major foundation hospitals in Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany and Lazio in Italy, the country worst hit by Covid-19.

Kering added that its Gucci brand could be able to donate one million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in the coming weeks, subject to relevant authorizations.

H&M re-purposes supply chain to produce protective gear

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has similarly announced it is “quickly arranging” for its supply chain to manufacture personal protective equipment for hospitals and health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“H&M Group will utilize its supply chain capacity, including its widespread purchasing operations and logistics capabilities, in order to start delivering as soon as possible,” the firm said in a statement. “The company’s supply chain teams around the world are now collectively supporting in these initial efforts to support countries and communities worldwide.”

H&M CEO Helena Helmersson added: “The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organisations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation. We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible.”

Click here to see the latest updates on how Covid-19 is affecting the international fashion industry

Photo credit: Louis Vuitton AW20/21, courtesy of Ten-Dem