Tuesday 7th of July 2020

Nairobi, Kenya

Designer Medical Face Masks 

Posted On : March 25, 2020

Oscar Alochi

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The rapid spread of Corona virus ( COVID-19 ) presents an unprecedented challenge to people across the globe. Along with its tragic human toll, the virus has provoked mass panic, sending the markets tumbling to historic lows and causing dramatic shortages in products even tangentially related to the outbreak.

But the virus has also prompted displays of heroism on an equally unprecedented scale, a small but crucial reminder that in times of true crisis there is no more indefatigable force than the human spirit.

Medical-grade masks are made from specialized textiles. The variety favored in places such as hospitals (pdf) today isn’t woven like a typical fabric. It’s made by complex and expensive machines that form melted, synthetic fibers into an extremely fine web. This web allows air to pass through while filtering out particles, which is why this non-woven material is used in respirators such as those labeled N95 in the US or FFP2 in Europe (pdf). The labels refer to the certification processes the respirators undergo. N95 respirators, which are designed to fit so they form a seal around the nose and mouth, can block at least 95% of particles as small as 0.3 microns under testing.

Here is comprehensive list of who’s doing what, and where, that we’ll keep updated to reflect any new announcements regarding which brands are involved at home and abroad.

AMI Paris

The French label made a lump-sum donation to the Fondation Hôpitaux de France- Hôpitaux de Paris, and, as of Tuesday, has pledged to contribute 10% of all purchases made through its website to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, from now until the end of the confinement period in France.

Armani

The iconic luxury label has pledged 1.25 million euros to a group of Italian hospitals and institutions, including the Luigi Sacco and San Raffaele hospitals and the Istituto dei Tumori in Milan, along with the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome.

Bulgari

Earlier last month, Bulgari also made a donation of an unspecified sum to the research department of the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome, allowing the hospital to purchase a microscopic image acquisition system valued at around 100,000 euros.

Canali

On Tuesday, Canali announced it will be donating 200,000 euros (or roughly $215,000) to the San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, through the brand’s nonprofit foundation, the Fondazione Canali Onlus.

CFDA

On Tuesday, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced the launch of A Common Thread, a fundraising initiative with Vogue to support small businesses within the fashion industry impacted by the global pandemic. The fund will also repurpose the $700,000 typically dedicated to the duo’s Fashion Fund Award, instead allocating the amount, and potentially more, to businesses that apply for grants starting on April 8th.

Christian Siriano

After New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted asking for PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies including face masks, the NY-based designer and his team got in touch with his office and now plan to produce modified surgical masks from fabric they already had on hand for healthcare workers not directly interacting with the virus.

Coty

The beauty manufacturer announced earlier this week it intends to repurpose its manufacturing sites to provide hydroalcoholic gel to efforts fighting the spread of the virus.

Dolce & Gabbana

The Italian label announced a comprehensive plan to partner with Humanitas University to fund studies and further research dedicated to finding out more about the cause of the virus.

Hermès

The French luxury-goods maker has pledged 5 million yuan (or $711,278) to the China Soong China Ling Foundation.

Inditex

The parent company behind fast-fashion brand Zara announced it will be using its factories to make face masks for the Spanish government, with the company saying it expects to ship out 300,000 masks by the end of this week.

John Elliott

John Elliott might be a smaller brand than any of the other big names on this list, but through its Mainline for the Frontline initiative, the label is doing its best to make an impact. The brand made a $10,000 donation to the UCLA Health Fund and has pledged to donate an additional 10% of proceeds from its sale section (which is full of fan favorites) to the same worthy cause, with a target goal of $100,000.

Kering

The French luxury conglomerate donated 7.5 million yuan (or $1 million) to the Red Cross Society of China, and Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri personally donated more than $100,000 to hospitals in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The group also announced it will be donating millions of masks to the French health service and will be converting some of its factories to produce other PPE supplies

L’Oreal

Along with a donation of 1 million euros to several partner organizations, L’Oreal has also used its facilities to start manufacturing hand sanitizer and hydro-alcoholic gel.

LVMH

After donating 16 million renminbi (or $2.2 million) to The Red Cross Society of China, the Paris-based multinational corporation announced that it’s converting the facilities formerly used to produce fragrances for its extensive roster of brands to make hydro-alcoholic gel, to be supplied free of charge to the French government and healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. On Saturday, LVMH also announced it will donate 40 million masks to France.

Miroglio Group

The Italian textile firm has converted its production lines to make regulation-approved face masks on an impressive scale (the company has said it will likely be able to produce up to 100,000 masks a day going forward).

Moncler

Moncler has pledged 10 million euros (or $10.9 million) towards the construction of a new hospital in Milan with 400 intensive care units.

Nike

The Swoosh’s top executives, in tandem with the company itself, announced they’re committing more than $15 million to COVID-19 response efforts, including donations to regional organizations in Oregon and global foundations fighting the virus around the world.

Prada

Prada’s co-CEOs (husband-and-wife duo Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada) and Chairman Carlo Mazzi have donated two complete intensive care and resuscitation units each to the Vittore Buzzi, Sacco, and San Raffaele hospitals in Milan. Today, Prada also announced its factory in Perugia will be producing 80,000 medical overalls and over 100,000 masks for healthcare workers in the region.

Pyer Moss

The NYC-based label has pledged to set aside $50,000 for “minority and women owned small creative businesses” that are currently struggling due to the pandemic.

Richemont

The luxury superpower has pledged 10 million renminbi (or $1.4 million) to stopping the spread of the virus through efforts around the world.

Santoni

The Italian shoemaker started by Giuseppe Santoni set up a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to purchase lung ventilators in support of the hospitals in his hometown region of Marche, Italy, donating the first 50,000 euros himself.

StockX

One of the biggest secondhand marketplaces in the game, StockX is focusing not on the virus itself but those affected by it. For many, social distancing can lead to missed meals, so StockX’s #FlexFromHome initiative is donating $20,000 to Feeding America, with an additional $1 (10 meals) for each tagged post from users.

Versace

The Italian fashion house donated 1 million renminbi (or $143,748) to The Chinese Red Cross Foundation, and this past Saturday, Donatella Versace and her daughter also announced a personal donation of 200,000 euros to the ICU of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.

Fashion companies from H&M and Zara to luxury firms LVMH, Kering, and Prada are contributing to the fight against Covid-19 by pledging to supply protective items for medical workers.
Many are offering to pitch in with their production facilities and make masks, which are in short supply. The tough part, however, isn’t necessarily sewing them. It may be getting the materials to make them in the first place.

This article originally appeared on  Esquire

 

Oscar Alochi

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