Fashion brands pivot to PPE production amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Healthcare workers around the world are in dire need of support amidst the Covid-19 crisis, and fashion brands are heeding the call to action by pivoting their production towards PPE, or personal protective equipment. Just in the last week, major, mid-market, and independent labels alike announced that they will be making much-needed medical masks and gowns. Below are just a few of the fashion brands helping our brave healthcare heroes.


Just last Thursday, American designer Ralph Lauren announced that the charitable arm of his eponymous brand is joining the global effort to fight Covid-19. Specifically, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation will produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with the brand’s U.S. manufacturing partners. What’s more, the foundation is addressing the international scale of the crisis by donating $10 million to global Covid-19 relief efforts. These funds will go to WHO’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, international cancer institutions, the CFDA (to support the American fashion community during this pandemic), and Ralph Lauren employees who have been impacted by the crisis.


Christian Siriano was quick to heed the call by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo when Cuomo tweeted out a plea for PPE for beleaguered healthcare workers. The Project Runway alum-turned-mentor tweeted back, replying: “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.” Things moved quickly from there: with cooperation from Governor Cuomo, Siriano’s team secured approval and instruction to produce much-needed PPE, and had manufactured 1,000 masks for hospital personnel in just three days. Siriano's early action inspired additional fashion brands and at-home hobbyists to join the global effort to make PPE. (Siriano is accepting donations to aid in this effort on his website.)


Japanese garment manufacturer Atsumi Fashion Co. is demonstrating true ingenuity in regards to its PPE production endeavors. The company is pivoting from manufacturing women’s bras by using the materials from the undergarments to instead make face masks to help ease the mask shortage in Japan. Female seamstresses came up with the clever idea after noticing how disposable masks had similar, nonwoven fabric to the brassieres they were sewing. By using their sewing skills to help people in need, the workers at Atsumi Fashion Co. are certainly heroes themselves.