What a strange experience it is to witness the devastating economic and wellbeing effects of this pandemic and the best in humanity at the same time. Most of us rock between being sad and empowered. Anxious and hopeful. Shocked and delirious. It’s heart-breaking and heart-warming, all at once.
Ralph Lauren has just personified that latter notion, joining the fashionable forces who have stepped up to fight COVID-19. This morning, the designer announced that the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation would donate $10 million (AUD $18.24 million) to four charities related to coronavirus.
“At the heart of our company, there has always been a spirit of togetherness that inspires our creativity, our confidence, and most importantly our support for one another. In the past weeks and months, that spirit has never wavered,” Lauren wrote in a release. “We believe that no matter who you are or where you are from, we are all connected. That is why we are taking significant action to help our teams and communities through this crisis.”
With Italy still in lockdown – several reports claim some areas could remain this way until July 31 – and with its death toll rising, designers have taken to the frontline: Prada recently donated six complete Intensive Care Units to three hospitals in Milan. Giorgio Armani has donated 1.25 million euros (AUD $2.28 million) to four different hospitals in Italy. Donatella Versace pledged $200,000 euros (AUD$365,000). LVMH are making hand sanitiser in their fragrance factories. Moncler donated 10 million euros (AUD $18.2 million) to The Fiera Hospital Project. Zara Spain is making masks for patients and health workers. Luxury conglomerates Kering and LVMH are shifting their supply chains to manufacture medical masks and hospital equipment.
The Ralph Lauren brand is also looking at their own production lines. Just a few hours ago, the label announced it will produce 250,000 medical masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their US manufacturing partners for donation to support the fight against COVID-19.
“We recognise that this is an unprecedented, multifaceted crisis which demands different responses for different needs in different places. That is why we are funding multiple activities to support our teams, our partners, and our communities around the world,” said Patrice Louvet, the president and chief executive officer of the Ralph Lauren brand. “As we move through this challenging time, we are focused on continuing to be the beacon of optimism and unity that Ralph Lauren and our brands have always stood for.”
While we stop to applaud our medical teams every night, designers deserves a little clap too. How long the world will have to self-isolate for is anybody’s guess. But one thing is for certain: At a time when retail is almost non-existent, the fashion world’s collective effort is a heart-warming one.
Stay safe and please stay home.