How the luxury fashion industry is responding to Coronavirus

The luxury style calendar has witnessed countless impediments and cancellations in the past, but nothing has been as wayward as the Covid-19 pandemic. As fashion is an industry that relies on being international, it is now experiencing the effects of the global crisis. 

Some have disregarded the substance of the trade, labelling it as trivial, yet it holds some of the world’s most impressive fiscal figures and is an artistic landscape we simply cannot afford to lose. The downfall of the industry would mean millions of artists, designers, tailors and employees becoming jobless or furloughed.  

From physical store closures, to events going online, here are some of the ways the fashion industry is adjusting to Coronavirus and the complex zeitgeist that we are facing at the moment. 

Fashion house donations

From Dolce & Gabbana to LVMH, the luxury fashion and beauty houses are contributing what they can to help eradicate the virus. LVMH originally donated 2.2 million dollars to The Red Cross China, then produced large volumes of hydroalcoholic gel and pledged 40 million medical masks.

Versace has also made a donation to The Chinese Red Cross Foundation to counter the lack of medical supplies. Since their initial donation, they will be donating €200,000 to the Intensive Care Unit at San Raffaele hospital, Milan.

Moncler have provided financial support to the construction of a new hospital in Milan. The €10 million donations will aid the construction of 400 intensive care units, while Dolce & Gabbana have donated to the Humanitas University for a research project hoping to eradicate the coronavirus.

Giorgio Armani has donated €1.25 million to various Italian hospitals and institutions, and Maison Valentino’s parent company has donated €1 million to an emergency field hospital in Madrid.

Events are online

While the world feels like an eerie place at the moment, fashion enthusiasts are doing their best to engender light-heartedness and frivolity, while keeping things somewhat normal. This includes the continuation of fashion events, digitally

When the Met Gala was cancelled, fashion aficionados revealed that they will honour the event by hosting an online version on the first Monday of May. 

Shanghai Fashion Week started on 24 March digitally. Through the aid of talent support platform, ‘Labelhood’ 31 designers showcased latest collections via social channels and websites. 

Physical store closures

Burberry announced that it was to close 24 of its 64 mainland China stores.  Reports also hinted that almost a quarter of US companies in China expect revenues to take a minimum hit of 16% this year due to the spread of the virus. 

British department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty London have also now shut down shops temporarily.

The pandemic aftermath is expected to hit the fashion and luxury sales, with revenues expected to plunge between 25 per cent and 35 per cent this year as a direct result of store closures owing to coronavirus lockdowns, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Despite the uncertanties that lie ahead, it has been heart-warming to see the industry come together to support designers and consumers who have helped build these iconic fashion houses. Uncertanties may lie ahead, but there’s one thing for sure, creatives will always find a way to create and co-exist, no matter what crisis we’re in.

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