“We ask all of you to be the Changemakers in this crisis, to stand together with us in the fight against the Coronavirus. We are all in this together,” writes Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, and president and CEO Marco Bizzarri in a letter to their employees around the globe.
Their call for unity was meant to encourage the members of their fashion house, but, more importantly, to redefine their brand’s role in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. “This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world,” the letter goes on.
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By no means is this a unique sentiment among global luxury style brands. Like countless other industries or industry categories that are not considered essential during a pandemic, many are thinking of ways to help, reallocating resources and assets for the bigger cause of saving lives.
“The pandemic we are all facing is a call for people around the world to take action,” says Ermenegildo Zegna CEO Gildo Zegna. “Each of us must do our part, in every way possible, to stop this global emergency.”
Here are just some of the brands who are doing their part:
Led by its founders the Della Valle family and on behalf of their employees, Tod’s allocated a total of €5 million to COVID-19 relief. The amount with go to making sure that the families of healthcare workers who lost their lives because of the virus will be taken cared of. The fund is called “Sempre con voi,” or roughly translated to “always with you” in English. It will be placed under the administration of the Protezione Civile, the Italian national authority that handles the prediction, prevention, and management of emergency events. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the fund can be send money to an account opened by Protezione Civile: IBAN IT66 J030 6905 0201 0000 0066 432.
The Armani Group
After making a €1.5 million donation to the National Civil Protection Department and to hospitals in Milan and Rome, the Armani Group recently announced another contribution to COVID-19 efforts. The fashion mega brand—which has such labels as Giorgio Armani Privé, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, and Armani Exchange in its portfolio—has reallocated all of their production plants in Italy to the manufacturing of single use medical overalls. These will be used by healthcare workers in the frontline of the European country’s fight against the Coronavirus. Apart from this, Giorgio Armani also donated to hospitals in Bergamo, Piacenza, and Versilia in the region of Tuscany.
Through a Facebook USD 10 million matching fundraiser, Gucci will contribute €1 million to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. This will support World Health Organization (WHO) and their efforts across countries to track and understand the spread of the virus, strengthen patient care, and improve supplies and equipment for healthcare workers. Like the Armani Group, Gucci will also be donating €1 million to the National Civil Protection Department and has also designated a webpage where the public can make donations.
Through its PVH Foundation, PVH Corp is also making a donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The American clothing company, who owns such brands as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Speedo, is earmarking USD 1 million to the global initiative pot. The parent company has also started shipping more than two million units of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that includes, isolation gowns, masks and face shields to the Montefiore Health System in New York. It has also made a USD 275,000 donation to the Chinese Society of the Red Cross and a USD 50,000 contribution to A Common Thread, which supports those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the pandemic.
The Zegna Group
Together with their brand’s top management, the Zegna family have pledged donations to Italy’s Civil Protection, an amount that totals €3 million. This will be used in support of Italian nurses, doctors, scientists, and volunteers. The Zegna Group will also convert a part of its production facilities in Italy and Switzerland to the manufacturing of medical masks, and has also contributed financially to several hospitals in order for them purchase ventilators and PPEs.