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Author: Dara Prant

Fashion and beauty brands are using their factories to produce everything from hospital gowns to hand sanitizers.

Photo: Alastair PIke/AFP/Getty Images

As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on communities across the world, fashion and beauty brands have announced plans to begin manufacturing products that will help prevent the infectious disease from spreading. LVMH joined the fight first when the luxury conglomerate announced Sunday that it would be turning its perfumes and cosmetics business into a hand sanitizer manufacturer and that it will distribute the sanitizers to French health authorities. The move was in response to shortages of the germ-fighting gel in France.

On Wednesday, L'Oréal leapt to humanity's aid by also offering up its factories to produce hand sanitizer. According to WWD, the beauty giant's brand La Roche-Posay will provide hydro-alcoholic gel to hospitals, nursing homes and main partnering pharmacies throughout Europe, while its other Garnier brand will dispense millions of units of the gel to all of its European clients in the food distribution channel.

"In this exceptional crisis situation it is our responsibility to contribute in every possible way to the collective effort," said Jean-Paul Agon, L'Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement to WWD. "Through these gestures, L'Oréal wishes to express its appreciation, support and solidarity with all those who mobilize with extraordinary courage and abnegation to fight against this pandemic."

Outside of the beauty realm, both small and large apparel brands have begun producing masks as the Coronavirus outbreak worsens. American Apparel's Dov Charney, offered up the workforce and management team behind his four-year-old label Los Angeles Apparel to manufacture masks or other medical products for "any government agency."

Later in the week and as the situation turned dire in Spain, Zara owner Inditex said it would produce hospital gowns and masks for patients and medical workers alike. Per a statement made to Vogue, the fast-fashion behemoth explained that it "will make a delivery at least once a week of materials we purchase directly."

In addition, the company said it is looking into switching some of its textile-manufacturing capacity over to the production of health materials. As of now, Inditex is only providing these much-needed products to people in Spain.

Hopefully as the number of Covid-19 cases and death toll rise, more companies around the world will use their manufacturing capacities to help combat the virus. We'll keep updating this post as we here about more life-saving production initiatives.

See updates here for every fashion and beauty retailer temporarily closing to help mitigate the spread of the virus here.


UPDATE, Thursday, March 19: Several indie beauty brands have pivoted their production focus to hand sanitizer as well. The founder of Skin Probiotics had been making hand gel on the side for years, but has made it her main project now that Covid-19 has threatened the country's supply. Similarly, Hudson Valley Skincare announced via Instagram that its suspended normal production to churn out hand sanitizers for its community.

The buzzy CBD category has also begun making disinfecting hand gel. There's now a CBD hand sanitizer and moisturizing spray from the brand Pure Bloom.

UPDATE, Friday, March 20: Guerlain is the latest beauty brand to join the global effort to minimize the spread of Covid-19. On Friday, the company sent out an official release stating that it has converted its La Ruche fragrance, makeup and skin-care factory and Orphin fragrance factory into hand sanitizer production sites. According to the statement, the disinfecting gel will not be for sale, but "it is freely being shared with French healthcare workers and hospitals" in hopes to "protect the doctors, nurses and hospital staff caring for others on the front line of this pandemic."

Los Angeles-based Big Bud Press, a brand that specializes in size-inclusive and unisex apparel, announced Friday via Instagram that it's also begun making masks to donate. "We'll be funding the project, buying the materials, paying for the sewing to keep these folks in work, and donating every mask we make," the post reads. "We're hoping to make around 100 to 200 masks a day." The masks will donated around Los Angeles and Chicago area hospitals, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.

On Twitter, Christian Siriano said he will dedicate his sewing team to New York's Covid-19 prevention efforts by having them make masks. Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed they are working together.

Brandon Maxwell also announced in an Instagram post that he is focusing his eponymous label's creative efforts on making medical gowns. "We have spent the last week researching the appropriate medical textiles to create these gowns and are proud to provide these much needed items to the doctors and nurses on the front lines," the post reads. "As more information becomes available on how to manufacture medical grade masks and gloves, we will transition in to doing so."

Miami-based label Alexis posted on Instagram that it had bought 2,000 N95 masks and 3,000 gloves from local construction companies and donated them to the Baptist Health hospitals in the area.

Meanwhile, as an equipment shortage for medical workers continues to be a pressing issues in Italy, Ermanno Scervino is stepping up to produce surgical masks. According to WWD, the luxury label is making masks certified by the Florence University that will be distributed at Tuscan hospitals.

UPDATE, Monday, March 23: Over the weekend, luxury conglomerates took action to address the shortage of necessary medical equipment to fight the spread of Covid-19. LVMH secured 40 million face masks from a Chinese industrial supplier; CEO Bernard Arnault arranged for the company to finance the whole first week of deliveries in France. Then Kering announced that it would purchase 3 million surgical masks that it will import from China and provide to French health services. The luxury group also said that Balenciaga and Saint Laurent plan to manufacture masks, while Gucci will be donating over a million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in Italy.

On Monday, Prada revealed that its factory in Perugia will produce masks and medical overalls. The label plans to start daily deliveries to Tuscan hospitals of 80,000 overalls and 110,000 masks on April 6.

Nomasei, a luxury shoe brand started by two Chloé alums, is using its small, family-owned factory in Italy to produce protective masks for the rest of the country. In addition to providing necessary medical equipment, this project allows the company to keep its workers employed.

Outside of the luxury fashion world, H&M said on Sunday it would help curb the spread of the coronavirus by sourcing personal protective equipment for hospitals in the European Union. The retailer is still trying to figure out what its supply chain can deliver, but plans on focusing on masks, which are currently a top priority.

In the U.S., designer Michael Costello of "Project Runway" fame has responded to the mask shortage by partnering with a Calabasas-based manufacturer to produce 20,000 protective face masks. Per an official press release, Costello plans to donate them to medical professionals, first responders and hospitals in Los Angeles County.

Meanwhile, Prabal Gurung and Cynthia Rowley are following in Christian Siriano's footsteps to produce personal protective equipment for medical workers and first responders. Gurung revealed the news via Twitter, writing: "As a brand that produces over 90% of our collections in NY, our goal is not only to fill the void of critical PPE, but to mobilize our domestic partners, revitalizing U.S. producers and suppliers." Rowley shared the news on Instagram, writing that her team will continue to make masks until they run out of supplies.

Gelareh Mizrahi joined the the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19, posting on the brand's Instagram that she found a CDC- and EU-verified, NIOSH-approved factory and is raising money to purchase personal protective equipment — including N95 masks, goggles, face shields and gloves — for hospitals around the country. You can donate to the cause here.

As of Monday, Alabama Chanin is now focusing all of its manufacturing efforts on producing reusable masks. The brand is also working with hospitals on making gowns for patients and is hoping that it will be able to produce those later this week.

UPDATE, Tuesday, March 24: Zero waste clothing company For Days is the latest apparel brand to produce hospital masks. The label has pivoted all of its sewing capacity in Hawthorne, California to make reusable masks out of a double layer of cotton jersey. These masks can be worn over surgical masks for extended use. For Days is working with the Los Angeles Mayor's office to direct masks to the most needed places.

Similarly, Grisel Lopez, the Puerto Rican, nonbinary designer behind Brooklyn-based brand Possessed, has set out to provide much-needed masks for hospital workers. According to Paper, the designer is using PVC to manufacture clear, BDSM-leaning face masks that they first introduced for Fall 2020. The designer also posted the news on Instagram, writing that the masks "can be sanitized and reused with soap and water or alcohol."

Also over the weekend, Lafayette 148 New York partnered with the Economic Development Corporation and The Brooklyn Navy Yard to respond to the urgent call for personal protective equipment. Per an email release, a patternmaker employed by the brand created patterns for surgical gowns, which were then digitized and sent off for prototyping. They have sample makers on standby waiting for instructions from the group to start production as soon as the prototype is approved.

Kes is working on initiatives to contribute to the aid of this pandemic as well. In collaboration with Dr. Galit Sacajiu MD MPH, the clothing brand is shifting operations to produce sustainable and washable protective face masks.The masks will be available for purchase online.

Elsewhere, the bridal industry has taken action: The team at Carine's Bridal is sewing and delivering face masks to help with the shortage, and is asking for donations of funds or fabric. The Dessy Group also plans to import protective masks and gowns for healthcare workers in New York City from its factory partners in Asia.

On the beauty front, Estée Lauder announced the reopening of its Melville, New York manufacturing facility in order to produce hand sanitizer. In a statement confirming the news to WWD, a company spokesperson said "compensated, employee volunteers will support this vital, meaningful effort."

UPDATE, Wednesday, March 25: Eddie Bauer announced Tuesday evening that it is shifting portions of its production capacity to make N95 and surgical masks to help meet the high demand for personal protective equipment. The outdoors brand will donate masks to the State of Washington through the Department of Enterprise Services as early as next week.

Elsewhere in the U.S., Neiman Marcus and Joann stores have joined forces to make nonsurgical masks, gowns and scrubs starting Wednesday. The Dallas Morning News reported that the work is happening at Neiman Marcus alterations facilities in California, New Jersey and Florida. Meanwhile, Nordstrom teamed up with Kaas Tailored to have employees help sew masks that will be distributed by Providence Health in Seattle.

Gap Inc. revealed Wednesday that it is pivoting resources so that factory partners can make masks, gowns and scrubs for healthcare workers and is connecting some of the largest hospitals in California with its vendors to deliver PPE supplies. In addition to making these connections, Gap Inc. is working with its manufacturing partners to quickly explore using its excess garment capacity to produce fabric masks and protective gear that the hospitals need urgently.

Eileen Fisher stepped up Wednesday as well by partnering with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the Economic Development Corporation to create gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Canada Goose is offering a helping hand to its community in Canada by opening two production units to make 10,000 scrubs and gowns to donate to hospitals.

In Spain, Mango has offered to distribute two million face masks among various Spanish hospitals using its own logistics system.

Over in France, Clarins is producing hand sanitizer at its industrial sites in Pontoise, Strasbourg and Amiens. Thus far, the beauty brand has delivered 14,500 bottles to hospitals. Similarly, L'Occitane has decided to reassign some of its facilities to manufacture 70,000 liters of hand sanitizer, which it will donate to health authorities in France. Along with the hand sanitizer, the beauty company is distributing 25,000 units of soap and hand cream to staff of the Paris university hospital trust.

Coty announced Wednesday that it is adjusting the production of some of its manufacturing sites to be able to provide free of charge, substantial quantities of hydro-alcoholic gel to medical and emergency services who are facing shortages due to the fast spreading virus. "As a responsible beauty company, we make our resources and facilities available to help the communities we are operating in during these exceptionally challenging time," said Coty CEO Pierre Laubies in an official press release."We are proud to support the brave professionals fighting on the frontlines against Covid-19 by providing hand sanitizer where it is needed."

UPDATE, Thursday, March 26: Several luxury labels, including Prada and Gucci, have joined the Covid-19 relief efforts abroad — and on Thursday Ralph Lauren did so in the U.S. The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation pledged $10 million to help the company's teams and communities impacted by the pandemic. On top of the donation, WWD reports that the company is working to assess the needs and technical requirements for medical-grade materials like masks and isolation gowns. As of the announcement, it's working on making 25,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 masks with its U.S. manufacturing partners.

Sanctuary is also using its resources to produce over 5 million N95 masks. "It's part of Sanctuary's company values to give back, so naturally we are doing our share," said Deb Polanco, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder in an official press statement. "We are happy to join this fight and do what we can to make a difference."

Following his large donations to hospitals in Italy earlier this month, Giorgio Armani announced on Thursday that all of the company's Italian production plants have switched to manufacturing single use medical overalls.

In the beauty world, Orly International is reconfiguring its Los Angeles-based nail polish factory operations to produce 75% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. According to an official press release from the brand, it will begin production by the end of March. The first batch of 10,000 units will be donated to the city of Los Angeles, while subsequent batches are expected to be available for sale by early April.

UPDATE, Friday, March 27: Theory and Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing has enlisted the help of its manufacturing partners in China to procure approximately 10 million protective masks. According to a press release from the company, it will donate 1.05 million masks to the U.S. starting early April through the New York State Government and it will donate 1 million masks to Italy beginning in late March via the Milan City Government. Another 1 million masks are to be donated to the Japanese government.

In the coming days, Under Armour plans to manufacture 500,000 face masks and thousands of hospital gowns at its innovation hub in Baltimore. The company's employee volunteers are also stuffing 50,000 fanny packs with vital supplies, which will be distributed at the University of Maryland and several other Maryland medical facilities.

Vera Bradley has converted its sewing operations at its distribution facility in Indiana to producing masks and scrubs, and is leveraging its supplier relationships to get distribution up and running as quickly as possible.

Much smaller fashion brands have also joined the Covid-19 relief effort. SVNR founder Christina Tung announced Friday that she has launched a Go Fund Me fundraising campaign to purchase PPE directly from her factory connections. Tung plans to place orders every Sunday based on needs.

Meanwhile, Farouk Systems, Inc., the makers of Chi and BioSilk, have begun manufacturing FDA approved hand sanitizers with 77% by volume natural denatured alcohol and organically grown aloe vera. For the official launch, Chi is donating $1 million worth of its hand sanitizer to the cities of Houston and Tomball, Texas.

Over in Italy, Calzedonia Group converted a number of its plants to the production of medical masks and gowns, which will then be donated to the hospital and the city of Verona. According to a press release from the company, the conversion was possible thanks to the purchase of special machinery. This new organization will be able to produce 10,000 masks a day in the early stages, but the company expects to increase production in the coming weeks.

UPDATE, Monday, March 30: Over the weekend, both Burberry and Chanel announced their efforts to bolster supplies to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in their respective countries.

Per an official press release from the brand, Burberry is working with its global supply chain network to fast-track the delivery of over 100,000 surgical masks to the U.K. National Health Service, as well as retooling its trench coat factory in Castleford, Yorkshire to make non-surgical gowns and masks for patients.

According to Reuters, Chanel is putting its employees to work by having them produce "protective face masks and blouses" in France. The production of these critical items will begin once the company receives approval from the French authorities.

In the U.S., several underwear and T-shirt factories, including HanesBrands Inc. and clothing manufacturer SanMar Corp, are working with the White House to supply cotton face masks for hospitals. Bloomberg reports that the Federal Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helped configure the pattern used in the masks.

Additionally, Rails is donating 10,000 medical grade and FDA-approved KN95 masks to hospitals across Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Detroit and other U.S. cities. The brand will also halt garment production in order to shift focus to creating 100% cotton masks for personal use and protection.

Brooks Brothers also responded to the national call for protective medical equipment, revealing that it's in the process of converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories into production hubs for up to 150,000 masks a day, Yahoo Finance reports. The brand is producing hospital gowns as well.

To help those affected by the Covid-19 crisis in Italy and Austria, Wolford has rearranged its production, pivoting from tights to face masks. Though the majority will be handed out for free to healthcare workers, a limited number will be sold through the brand's e-commerce (and those sales will only be used to cover production and logistic costs and for donations to healthcare-related efforts to fight the virus.)

With an increased demand for alcohol based disinfectant gels, Tata Harper has created a new hand sanitizer formula in compliance with the government guidelines set in place. The beauty brand will donate 500 bottles of the sanitizer, as well as its Reparative Moisturizer and Rebuilding Moisturizer, to the medical community in Los Angeles and is in search of a healthcare organization in New York City to donate an additional 500 bottles of the products for medical workers in need of a care package for facial reactions.

UPDATE, Tuesday, March 31:Net-a-Porter — which temporarily closed distribution centers and suspended services in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East on Friday — announced that it will use its same-day delivery vans to transport supplies to socially isolated people in London.

"During this critical time, these charities are working tirelessly to ensure that elderly and vulnerable groups have access to essential care packages, food and medical supplies, while they are required to stay at home," the company said in a statement to WWD. "Now, more than ever, the primary focus of our colleagues and customers is the well-being of relatives, friends and communities. Reflecting our core sustainability priorities, the group hopes that the redistribution of these resources will help to make a difference in London."

Following in the footsteps of major clothing companies and luxury conglomerates abroad, U.S.-based PVH Corp has starting shipping over 2 million units of PPE — including isolation gowns, masks and face shields — to the Montefiore Health System in New York.

Laws of Motion has pivoted core operations at its New Jersey-based factory to begin producing 50,000 face shields and 10,000 medical gowns each week for hospitals in New York. The first donation will be made this Thursday, and then the brand will introduce a buy-one-donate-one initiative on

In Italy, the La Perla Group has donated 10,000 masks to the municipality of Bologna. The Italian lingerie label sourced the masks from Hong Kong and then distributed them to elderly residential homes, home care workers and local authorities in Bologna.

The Kardashians have been keeping up with efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Last week, Kylie Jenner donated $1 million to the cause; now, the makeup mogul and her mom, Kris Jenner, announced that they have partnered with Coty to produce hand sanitizers for hospitals in Southern California. Per a release from Kylie Cosmetics, the hand sanitizers will be donated to the emergency and healthcare workers caring for patients on the front lines of the public health crisis.

Elsewhere in the U.S., Jockey is manufacturing Tier 3 Isolation Gowns. The company plans to donate 250,000 gowns initially that will go to high-priority medical facilities and testing sites across the country. "It is in our DNA to roll up our sleeves and help our country in times of need," Jockey President Mark Fedyk said in an official press statement. "During WWII, we made parachutes for the U.S. military. And today, we are pleased to provide critically needed PPE for the health care workers on the front lines of this fight."

Tanya Taylor has also started producing masks. The designer posted an Instagram on Tuesday about how the brand is partnering with its domestic factories to put 5,000 non-medical grade masks into production. According to the caption, the "locally-sewn masks will be sent to New York City hospitals to help reduce the strain on supplies." The New York-based label is now asking for donations so it can make 5,000 more.

Posture-perfecting activewear label IFGfit has begun producing thousands of washable filter masks and donating them to local hospitals and clinics, as well as hundreds of apparel items from their line. These masks are being made in the brand's Southern California facilities by local workers.

Carhartt announced plans to produce 2.5 million protective masks and 50,000 medical gowns starting April 6. WWD reports that production will continue as long as these crucial items are needed for relief efforts. The brand will use its factories in Tennessee and Kentucky, and employees that have volunteered to produce the essential items will receive compensation.

UPDATE, Wednesday, April 1: In an email Wednesday morning, Warby Parker announced it is using its optical lab in Sloatsburg, New York as a distribution center to facilitate the donation of thousands of N95 protective masks. Thus far, the brand has facilitated donations to different organizations including AmeriCares, National Association for Free and Charitable Clinics, and its Pupils Project hospital partners, Johns Hopkins and Boston Medical Center.

Anomalie, a custom online wedding dress shop, is currently raising money to get masks to healthcare workers. The company is sourcing CDC-certified N95 respirator masks and FFP2 masks from its dedicated team in China, to deliver to people in need.

Los Angeles-based Onzie is also doing its part to get masks to workers on the front lines, using its recycled material to hand-make masks. It has already donated 3,000 of them to local hospitals and claims it has the capacity to make up to 20,000 masks.

UPDATE, Thursday, April 2: New York-based eyewear brand Moscot is working with wholesale optical laboratory Cherry Optical Labs in Wisconsin to provide healthcare professionals in need of PPE with protective glasses featuring scratch-proof lenses, both prescription and not, free of charge. Medical workers can apply through this request form.

New Balance made its first general-use face mask prototype less than a week ago, and is now aiming to manufacture up to 100,000 units weekly at its factories in Maine and Massachusetts by mid-April. The company is also in the process of advancing its current face mask design to meet FDA requirements and achieve a product that can be used by frontline medical staff. Simultaneously, the brand is working toward making prototypes of gowns and foot coverings and exploring collaborative opportunities that optimize its U.S.-based 3D printing capabilities.

Menswear brand Joseph Abboud has joined the fight against Covid-19 by reopening its factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts to help with the production of washable face masks. The reopening of the factory brought back employees to make more than 50,000 masks to help front-line healthcare professionals in need.

Additionally, the California-based clothing label Johnny Was has made 10,000 floral-printed face masks for donation. You can also purchase a mask from the brand here.

Meanwhile, the New York-Based jewelry brand Adornia worked with its box supplier in Guangdong Province in China to invest in technology to produce and manufacture N95 masks.

The Collected Group, the parent company to Current/Elliot, Joie and Equipment, announced plans to donate masks to the New York City medical community on Thursday.

UPDATE, Friday, April 3: Beiersdorf, the makers of Nivea, Eucerin, Aquaphor and Coppertone, converted its facility in Tennessee to produce half a million units of medical-grade hand sanitizer to donate to the medical community and to non-profit organizations servicing those most in need across the U.S. and Canada.