As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb each day, some of fashion’s biggest names have doubled down on their efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Both Prada and the Kering Group, which owns brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta, have announced their plans to tackle medical supply shortages in Europe by re-directing their factories to manufacture essential protective equipment such as face masks.
Just hours ago, Prada revealed that it has started the production of some 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 surgical masks, upon an urgent request from the Tuscany region. The articles are being produced at the Prada factory in Montone, which has stayed open despite the lockdown in Italy for this express purpose, and will be distributed via daily deliveries to healthcare personnel in the country. The initiative follows the donation of six intensive care units to hospitals in Milan by Prada CEOs Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, along with chairman Carlo Mazzi.
Similarly, luxury conglomerate Kering is set to convert the French workshops of Saint Laurent and Balenciaga to fabricate face masks, as soon as “the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities”. The group has further pledged to provide three million masks purchased and imported from China to the French health service, in addition to its previous donations to hospitals across Italy, the Hubei Red Cross Foundation in China, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
Kering-owned Gucci has also responded to the call for help by the Regione Toscana, and is looking to contribute up to 1.1 million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in the coming weeks to its homeland, where the virus has already claimed over 6,000 lives.