By Karina Margit Erdelyi
COVID-19 has upended the world, but the fashion industry has been hit particularly hard. Over the past month, the novel coronavirus epidemic has caused numerous brands to shut their retail stores indefinitely — including Nike, Net-a-porter, Everlane, Reformation, and many more. In short, the global pandemic has altered the very fabric of our lives.
As the crisis deepens, with 1.5 million confirmed cases in the United States alone, many fashion and beauty companies — the majority of which have ceased production altogether — have stepped up to help combat COVID-19. As the world comes to terms with life under pathogenic threat, a slew of top fashion and beauty brands are pivoting from manufacturing clothes and cosmetics to producing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gowns, sanitizer, and other supplies to aid the fight against the spread of the virus.
Here’s how American powerhouse brands are taking on the battle against this global pandemic.
In an incredible response to the global pandemic, Nike has pledged a total of more than $17 million to help fight the novel coronavirus — with major donations going to the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Recovery Fund, and the Oregon Health and Service University. The Nike Foundation is donating $1 million to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, and to local organizations to help them meet immediate needs — like food assistance and medical care — in key cities and communities around the world where their employees live and work.
Ralph Lauren’s eponymous lifestyle brand has pledged $10 million to COVID-19 relief efforts — the largest donation by a fashion brand thus far. The money will go to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the Emergency Assistance Foundation, its Pink Pony Fund that supports international cancer institutions, and an undisclosed amount to A Common Thread, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 Relief in support of American fashion designers and industry members hit hard by the economic fall-out from the pandemic.
“It is in the spirit of togetherness that we will rise,” shared Ralph Lauren in a statement. “That is why we are taking significant action to help our teams and communities through this crisis.”
Michael Kors has pledged $1 million, with the designer himself adding in another $1 million personally for New York-based organizations that are providing coronavirus relief efforts. $750,000 will go to New York-Presbyterian Hospital; $750,000 to NYU Langone Health; $250,000 to God’s Love We Deliver — an organization that delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves; and $250,000 to A Common Thread — the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 Relief.
Crocs is giving back to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 through their “A Free Pair for Healthcare” to thank doctors, nurses, health attendants, and other healthcare heroes by providing them a free pair of Crocs Classic Clogs or Crocs At Work styles (while supplies last), along with free shipping.
The New York City-based fashion designer and Project Runway star was one of the first to answer New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for help creating personal protective equipment (PPE) via Twitter:
“If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some,” wrote Siriano. “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.”
Cuomo soon confirmed his office was in touch with Siriano, tweeting:
“Appreciate his help so much. Who’s next? Let’s do this together, NY!”
New Balance has pledged $2 million to support local, regional, and global communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will go to the following organizations: $200,000 to Global Giving — the largest crowdfunding community that connects nonprofits, companies, and donors across the world; $100,000 to No Kid Hungry who work to feed kids in the hardest-hit communities; and $50,000 each to The Boston Resiliency Fund, Good Shepherd Food Bank in Maine, the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and Groundwork Lawrence. Select organizations from the New Balance Foundation’s network, who support children and families, with a focus on health, nutrition, education, and physical movement, will receive a combined total of $1.5 million.
Anne Davis, managing trustee of the New Balance Foundation, said: “As we witness the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness, and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis.”
In addition to reopening a factory in Melville, New York to start producing hydroalcoholic gel (aka sanitizer) for high-need groups and populations, like frontline healthcare workers — Estée Lauder has pledged a $2 million grant to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières to support their work in affected countries that lack the resources to battle the novel coronavirus successfully.
Kate Spade New York
Kate Spade announced via Instagram that the brands at Tapestry — the New York-based house of modern luxury lifestyle brands like Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman — would be donating $2 million to New York City’s Small Business Continuity Fund. The post shared that the money was “for all the small businesses in NYC that make our hometown so incredibly special, and right now need some extra love and support. we appreciate each one of you, we’re here for you and we can’t wait to see you again soon.”
Saks Fifth Avenue
The American luxury retailer has pledged $600,000 to organizations that support COVID-19 relief efforts through its Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation. $250,000 will go to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital COVID-19 Patient Care Fund; $200,000 to Bring Change to Mind — a mental health organization creating virtual programs for high school students aimed at reducing feelings of isolation; and $150,000 to Girls, Inc. — who provide social and emotional support for girls affected by the pandemic.
This American heritage fashion brand (founded in 1818) announced that its manufacturing facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina will halt production of shirts, ties, and suits to begin producing medical masks and gowns — with a goal to manufacture 150,000 masks per day. “We are deeply grateful to the medical personnel at the frontlines who are fighting the pandemic, and we are honored to do our part and join our peers in retail to provide protective masks that our health care system critically needs,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, CEO of the company, in a statement.
Under Armour, the athleticwear powerhouse, is donating $2 million to support those affected by the pandemic. Feeding America will receive $1 million towards its hunger relief efforts related to school closures, and $1 million will go to Good Sports, a nonprofit that provides equipment, footwear, and apparel to at-risk youth to encourage physical activity.
Via its VIVA GLAM charitable campaign — launched more than 25 years ago as a community response to a pandemic (AIDS), and which has raised over $500 million since its inception in 1994 — MAC Cosmetics will donate $10 million to 250 organizations around the world that are working to combat COVID-19. Yes, MAC is putting its money where its rouged mouth is! And on top of the brand’s generous donation, they will be donating 100% of Viva Glam lipstick sales to raise funds for at-risk communities worldwide impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“VIVA GLAM has never been about one cause, but about support to vulnerable communities. It was created many years ago simply as a hardship fund for people who needed safety nets,” shared John Demsey, Chairman of the Mac Viva Glam Fund and executive group president of The Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
About the author.
An award-winning creator and digital health, wellness, and lifestyle content strategist — Karina writes, edits, and produces compelling content across multiple platforms — including articles, video, interactive tools, and documentary film. Her work has been featured on MSN Lifestyle, Apartment Therapy, Goop, Psycom, Pregnancy & Newborn, Eat This Not That, thirdAGE, and Remedy Health Media digital properties.