Luxury brands in India and abroad have joined forces to defeat COVID-19. Their workshops, kitchens, factories and hotels are working overtime to make masks and sanitizers, feed migrant labourers, pay wages to out-of-work craftsmen and offer accommodation to doctors and medical personnel. We are all in this together.
Popular author JK Rowling of the mega-hit Harry Potter series wrote, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” It’s commendable how luxury brands from around the globe, big and small, are doing their bit to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are donating money to the local hospitals and civic bodies, making masks, gowns and hand sanitizers and helping daily-wage labourers and artisans sustain in these hard times. Whether its magnanimous gestures such as these or the simple act of staying at home, we all have a role to play. And if all of us do this together, we can win this war.
Indian Hotels Company Limited: The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the hospitality business of Tata Sons, has offered accommodation to doctors and other members from the medical fraternity, fighting COVID-19, in select hotels. “During these trying times, we at IHCL are keenly aware of our responsibility towards our community. As a reflection of our commitment, we are offering rooms for the medical fraternity to stay while they combat the spread of the virus,” said a spokesperson in an official statement.
Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd: Renowned restaurateur Zorawar Kalra’s Massive Restaurants that owns eateries such as Masala Library, Pa Pa Ya, Farzi Café and Made in Punjab has been preparing meals for migrant labourers and other homeless and in need of food in Gurugram and Mumbai. Close to 5,000 meals are prepared at the restaurants’ kitchens every day.
House of Anita Dongre:Popular designer Anita Dongre of House of Anita Dongre announced a medical fund of Rs1.5 crore to support their smaller vendors, self-employed artisans and partners who do not have medical insurance or coverage to prepare for medical emergencies arising from COVID-19. A helpline has also been set up to assist employees and partners to answer any queries. On Instagram, Anita wrote, “We are in this together and we will come out on the other side stronger. We shall overcome.” The fashion house has also pledged to make masks from waste materials and will distribute these in hospitals and a few villages.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee:Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has pledged to donate Rs1 crore of personal funds to the PM’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and Rs 50lakh to the Chief Minister of West Bengal’s Relief Fund. In a statement released on social media he said that he expects that the donation will be used to ramp up medical facilities in the country. “Everything we do today combats the massive challenge that we are facing as a nation and as a world. Our investments in today’s efforts will come back to us all exponentially in the future,” he said in a statement.
House of Angadi: In Bengaluru, textile brand Angadi announced 100 per cent wage support for the weavers of the brand. He also offered to make masks on large scale for the Karnataka government. “In these difficult times, the first duty of entrepreneurs is to ensure business continuity. And to this end, we have activated our contingency plan. As a business house, we always try to remain nimble in our business plans to be able to respond to any situation,” says K Radharaman, Director of House of Angadi in an e-mail interview. “We have pledged to continue providing full wage support to the hundreds of weavers and artisans we work with, regardless of their ability to work from home. Personally, I have donated one month’s salary to WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.”
Farah Khan Fine Jewellery:Fine jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali has pledged to donate five per cent of the profits made on every sale to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Maharashtra, until we are completely virus-free. Her statement on her Instagram account said, “Collectively we can all make a difference. Be safe. Be brave. This too shall pass.”
Karleo: Fashion brand Karleo will be making 5,000 masks for BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) sweepers and personnel of other essential services, from saved clothes in their workshops.
VLCC: VLCC Personal Care Ltd. announced the commencement of production of hand sanitizers at its GMP certified manufacturing facility in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, one of its two such plants in India, to help mitigate the severe health crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and to meet the sudden spike in demand for hygiene products. Jayant Khosla, Managing Director & Group Head, VLCC, said “We have decided to manufacture and distribute hand sanitizers as our humble contribution to the collective national effort in tackling the COVID-19 crisis and have accordingly diverted a part of our manufacturing capacity to produce these.”
The LaLiT:The Lalit is supporting Delhi Government’s initiative to feed the needy by donating 1000 kg of wheat flour and 300 kgs of refined wheat flour, over 700 kgs of vegetables from their gardens in the last couple of days to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). Similarly, other 11 hotels of the group are providing more than 1000 kg of atta, 500 kg of maida, 200 litres of oil, food supplies, fruits and vegetables to the relevant local authorities who are leading the food distribution. The doctors working in Delhi Government’s Lok Nayak Hospital and GB Pant Hospital are housed at The Lalit New Delhi. “These are extraordinary times. COVID-19 is one of the toughest crisis ever faced by humanity. Everyone must do their bit to fight this pandemic. The need of the hour is to stand together and take care of those most affected. Together we can and we will overcome this.” said Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, in an official statement.
Armani: Luxury designer Giorgio Armani donated $2.20 million to help Italy amidst the global pandemic. The amount is being given to four Italian hospitals, Luigi Sacco, San Raffaele, the Istituto dei Tumori in Milan and Rome’s Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani and the country’s civil defense, Protezione Civile. The brand’s production plants in Italy is producing single-use medical overalls for healthcare workers.
Burberry: The English brand announced that its Yorkshire factory will manufacture non-surgical masks and gowns that follow the guidelines set by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. It will also fast-track the delivery of more than 100,000 surgical masks to the UK National Health Service. Additionally, it is funding the research on a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. It will also be donating to FareShare and The Felix Project, two organizations in the United Kingdom that supply meals to those in need.
Bvlgari:Following the lead of LVMH, its parent company, the Italian jewellery brand along with fragrance partner ICR, will produce more than 100,000 hand sanitiser bottles that will be distributed by the Italian Civil Protection Department. Bvlgari has also donated funds to the Spallanzani Hospital, which acquired a new microscope for researchers looking to eradicate the novel coronavirus.
Chanel:Chanel has made a financial contribution of €1.2 million to the emergency fund created by Fondation de l’AP-HP (the public hospital system for the city of Paris), the Fondation Georges Pompidou and the SAMU (French emergency services). Additionally, the label will utilise its manufacturing units to produce face masks.
Estée Lauder: In response to the impact of COVID-19 around the world, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., its brands, and its corporate foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation (ELCCF), have provided the following donations: Globally, a $2 million grant was awarded to Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to support their continued life-saving work around the world. In New York City, where the company is headquartered, a grant of $75 million was provided to support the establishment of The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, which will provide critical support for New York City’s vital social services and cultural community organizations. In China, over $800,000 was awarded to support the Red Cross Society of China, Shanghai Charity Foundation and Give2Asia. Additionally, $1.4 million worth of in-kind donations were provided to the China Women’s Development Foundation to support the front line medical staff. Additionally, the brand’s manufacturing units across the US and UK will be producing hand sanitizers for healthcare professionals.
Gucci: Gucci has announced a donation of €2 million to fight the pandemic. This amount will be donated to two separate crowdfunding campaigns, locally, in Italy, where the company is based, for the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) in partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo, and globally, for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Chanel face mask Land Rover Discovery Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle Bulgari ICR Hand Cleansing Gel Fund in support of the World Health Organization, through a matching campaign with Facebook. Some of these funds will be allocated to reinforce Italy’s health services and organizations managing the emergency, and for the creation of new ICU beds as a priority.
Jaguar and Land Rover: Under parent company Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, the two automotive brands will deploy more than 160 vehicles to organizations like British Red Cross and the Red Cross Societies in Australia, Spain, South Africa and France, which are helping curtail the spread of coronavirus. It will also loan vehicles to the National Health Service in the UK along with wraparound safety glasses to hospitals across the country.
Kering Group: Kering Group, contributed 3 million masks and gowns to medical personnel in France, tackling the health supply shortage during the pandemic. Kering-owned luxury labels Gucci, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent have also altered the use of their factories to produce surgical masks and other essential supplies for healthcare workers.
LVMH:French luxury conglomerate LVMH has taken an initiative to produce hydroalcoholic gel (hand sanitizers) in its perfume and cosmetic factories. As per WHO guidelines for Covid-19 pandemic, alcohol-based hand sanitizers used frequently could help contain the virus from spreading. To address the risk of shortage of these gels in their home country, the luxury house will distribute sanitizers free of cost to French health authorities and Assistance Publique- Hôpitaux de Paris, one of the largest hospital systems in Europe.
Prada:Prada is financing the ICUs of three new hospitals in Milan viz. San Raffaele, Sacco and Vittore Buzzi. It will also produce 110,000 masks and 80,000 medical garments that will be delivered to Tuscan hospitals.
Ralph Lauren:The American brand pledged $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts, which will go to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the Emergency Assistance Foundation, and its Pink Pony Fund, which supports a network of international cancer institutions. It is also producing 250,000 face masks and 25,000 isolation gowns for health care workers
Versace: Donatella Versace, the brand’s Chief Creative Officer and her daughter Allegra Versace have pledged a collective amount of €200,000 to the ICU at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.