While the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis is hitting the fashion industry hard, with all but non-essential shops closed around the UK, that hasn’t stopped fashion designers, brands and retailers doing their bit to aid the coronavirus relief efforts - from offering charitable donations, discounts to the NHS, as well as making protective equipment and masks for health professionals on the front line.
Kurt Geiger launches ‘Small Acts of Kindness’
Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has closed its 55 high street stores across UK and Ireland and is urging its 2,000 store works to utilise their paid-leave to become part of the neighbourly volunteering scheme launched by Age UK.
The brand also launched Small Acts of Kindness on its social media channels, with its store managers donating 100-pound gift cards to 55 NHS critical care workers in each of their local hospitals, with the retailer’s chief executive Neil Clifford personally donating gift cards at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
In addition, Clifford has stated that he will suspend his salary until stores open again, and the retailer is offering all NHS staff 50 percent discount for a full year in all Kurt Geiger stores.
“It’s clear that community life and extra acts of kindness will help build invaluable support in this unprecedented time, particularly for the vulnerable and isolated. We will be actively helping our teams play their part in supporting those most in need within their local areas,” explained Clifford.
John Lewis donates to local hospitals
Department store John Lewis might have closed its doors for the first time in 155 years but it is still showing it has community spirit by responding to requests from NHS workers for anything that would make their breaks more comfortable. The retailer said that it will be donating items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream, as well as 50,000 Easter treats, to hospitals.
The John Lewis Partnership has also launched a support fund to aid its employees who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic, such as childcare costs, as well as offering free meals at work.
In addition, the retail group announced it was working with Age UK, FareShare, the Trussell Trust, Grocery Aid and Retail Trust by donating 75,000 pounds initially to each of the five charities, for immediate activity in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Phoebe English offers to make masks
English fashion designer Phoebe English is offering to make face masks and other medical garments for any organisations that are running low, as well as asking companies with sewing capacity, machinery, and other facilities that could help replenish stocks of masks/gowns for the medical sector.
For any companies who can help, the Government is asking for firms to register their capacity at on this Cabinet registration link, www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/L5B32S, or by contacting [email protected] to help.
Baukjen and Isabella Oliver offer office space to help NHS
Ethically and sustainably conscious womenswear and maternity wear brands Baukjen and Isabella Oliver, have offered their North London head office space to the NHS, in an effort to help the local community in response to the coronavirus.
The head officer of the two UK-based premium fashion brands is located a few doors down from a busy doctor’s surgery, and they have offered their space as a “safe place to use in case of emergency”.
“We wanted to do anything we could to help the local community during this difficult time,” said chief executive and co-founder Geoff van Sonsbeeck. “Even if it might seem small, now is the time to unite and stick together.”
In addition, both Baukjen and Isabella Oliver are also offering a 40 percent discount off their full price collection to all key workers, in a show of support for all the incredible work they do. This includes social care workers, teachers, police and transport rail staff. All they need to do to claim the discount is to email a photo of your ID to either [email protected] or [email protected] to receive a discount code.
Image: courtesy of Baukjen
Sophia Webster donates trainers to NHS staff
Footwear and accessories brand Sophia Webster is gifting 200 pairs of its FlyBy trainers to NHS workers on the front line - as a way of bringing “a little joy to the selfless medics going through these unprecedented times”.
Sophia Webster said on the brand’s Instagram: “In this time of crisis and uncertainty, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling helpless with so much out of our control. One way to get through this is by focusing my thoughts towards gratitude and positive action.
“From the get go, my mission has been to create shoes that make people smile, so it is with this best intention that I show my gratitude by gifting 200 pairs of our FlyBy trainers to NHS workers.”
Zadig and Voltaire supports Foundation Hospitals of Paris - Hospitals of France
Contemporary French label Zadig and Voltaire said that it would be helping to fight this pandemic by supporting the Foundation Hospitals of Paris - Hospitals of France, by donating 20 percent of sales of its new collection sold via its online store in France.
Cecilia Bönström, the company's creative director, said in a statement: "France is the country that welcomed me over 20 years ago, and I owe her my support. We believe it is vitally important to support the work of the Foundation for the Hospitals of Paris and of France, which gives real, practical help to all healthcare professionals in their day-to-day work and in fulfilling their missions. Today more than ever, we must show mutual care and support.”
Three Graces London donating to homeless charity Crisis
Womenswear brand Three Graces London is to donate 100 percent of net sales from all products sold on its website until April 1 to homeless charity Crisis, in support of their efforts to protect the homeless through the Coronavirus outbreak.
Three Graces London founder, Catherine Johnson, said on the brand’s Instagram: “I know that, like me, lots of people are wondering what they can do to help their community in this time of urgent need. I hope that this provides a unique and meaningful way for shoppers to give back and have a positive impact on society’s most vulnerable – whilst also, of course, helping to support all of the amazing artisans across Europe who contribute to making beautiful garments for Three Graces.
“By supporting the incredible work of homeless charity Crisis, we hope to be able to play a small part in helping those who are at their most vulnerable and alone.”
Image: Three Graces London Facebook
Allbirds offers NHS staff free shoes
Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds is offering NHS workers, including doctors, nurses and medical staff on the frontline fighting coronavirus a free pair of shoes as a way of showing its appreciation for what they are “doing for the country during these awful uncertain times”.
In The Style pledges donation to Age UK and offers NHS discount
Online fast-fashion retailer In The Style has pledged to donate 100 percent of profits from its new collection in collaboration with Olivia Bowen to Age UK to help support elderly people through the Covid-19 crisis.
Following the response, In The Style extended its charitable efforts and said it would be donating 10 percent of proceeds from all In The Style sales to the charity dedicated to supporting elderly people across the UK who find themselves in a more vulnerable situation and facing uncertainty at this time.
In addition, the e-tailer is also offering 50 percent off for all NHS workers as a thank-you for everything they are doing.
“We know you are working so hard to help keep us all safe,” said In The Style on its social media. “So, as a token of our appreciation, we would like to offer you an exclusive discount code so you can treat yourselves lie the heroes you are.”
Pronovias Group supports engaged hospital staff worldwide
Global bridal brand Pronovias is showing its support for hospital workers on the frontline by donating wedding dresses to brides-to-be. The initiative started in China earlier this year, where they have already provided many nurses and doctors with wedding gowns, and now the brand is extending their support to hospital employees worldwide.
“Donating our wedding dresses to wonderful women is the least we can do to bring happiness and joy to their wedding day, making them look and feel their best,” Pronovias chief executive officer Amandine Ohayon said in a statement.
Main image: courtesy of Kurt Geiger