Polo, Falke, and M.A.C among the high-end brands helping communities impacted by Covid-19

No socks for now. Just masks. Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images
No socks for now. Just masks. Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

We previously reported on how the coronavirus pandemic threatened not only fashion week shows across the fashion capital cities, but had affected production too. In this article, it was mentioned that the luxury goods market has taken a slight hit economically as many have been forced to shut their doors in order to curtail the contagion – especially given the fact that China and Italy - as the countries most affected by Covid-19 - are just two of the biggest hubs of activity for textiles and fashion respectively. 

Again, we must highlight that small and independent businesses are facing a decline in profits too (if any at all). In light of this and other threats to livelihoods, the luxury fashion cabal including the likes of Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond, Prada, LVMH, and Kering has rallied to aid Covid-19 relief around the world. 

READ MORE: Prada, LVMH, Gucci, and Pyer Moss among luxury fashion names contributing to Covid-19 relief  

Despite the fashion and beauty industries facing their own post-Covid aftermath that may force them to rethink their modus operandi, these industries have really pooled resources to flex their altruistic muscle. 

The worldwide onslaught of the coronavirus has resulted in a PPE shortage and a widespread misuse of masks. This is why a number of high-end fashion and beauty brands have recently announced how they'll be doing their bit to assist medical facilities and staff, essential service workers, impacted communities, as well as families. 

Here, we take a brief look at the brands who've pledged towards coronavirus relief measures: 


South Africa

Polo South Africa has committed to helping the City of Cape Town through pledging 250 000 cotton fabric masks to be distributed to commuters and essential services across the country. 

While most South Africans are working from home, there are some who are still dependent on public transport. Commuters who are part of essential services as well as first responders, are more challenged with adhering to social distancing as is widely advised right now. Given the global mask shortage and the need to act immediately to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, this project sprang into action on Monday 16th March. 

To assist with this, Polo has set up a task team in their shirt factory in Atlantis to manufacture the ‘Commuter Facemasks’. They are not medical masks but rather cotton fabric, washable and reusable facemasks. The masks are currently freely distributed via The City of Cape Town to vulnerable residents at clinics and public transport interchanges. 

"As a fashion brand, this is our small way of helping our nation’s commuters and to stand alongside the health services who are hard at work at the front lines” says Mark Oliver, Polo MD. The factory will continue production until the pledge has been met and the masks have been delivered to the most needed areas across the country.  

coronavirus donations from fashion brands
coronavirus donations from fashion brands
Images: Styling Concepts 


South Africa 

With regards to this brand, the information W24 is currently privy to is that Falke has stopped producing socks for now, and will instead use its factory in Pretoria to produce 60 000 masks a week to supplement the shortage of masks in the country.

These masks are not medical masks and as such, cannot be worn by medical staff. Rather, these masks are manufactured for ordinary South Africans, and those working in essential services. They are washable, reusable masks, and will be sold for R20 per mask. 

New Balance 


New Balance has redirected a portion of its skilled U.S. team to work on face masks in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility,” the footwear brand has said in a press release, adding that they "hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon.” 

READ MORE: Popular sneaker label New Balance, is producing face mask prototypes in its U.S. factory  



Zara owner Inditex, will be helping its home country Spain fight the coronavirus pandemic, as it is "studying converting part of its textile manufacturing capacity in Spain to produce hospital gowns [and scrubs]." 

"It also said it would make available to Spain its vast logistics and supplier network, especially in China, to 'meet Spain’s emergency needs of both medical and textile materials' such as protective masks, gloves, goggles and caps," a Reuters report revealed. 



H&M is working with its supply chain partners to produce personal protective equipment for hospitals in Europe.

"We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible," said Anna Gedda, head of the H&M sustainability group. 



International denim giant Levis', announced a $3 million (approximately R54 million) commitment to support communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic around the globe, on 27 March. 

In a letter published on the fashion label's blog, Levi's CMO Jennifer Sey wrote; "We integrated factories in the South before the law required it, we were the first Fortune 500 company to offer same sex partner benefits and this moment presents another opportunity to do the right thing. It is a moment of extreme hardship – yes; but if we band together, give all that we can as individuals and as a collective, we can emerge stronger." 

READ MORE: Levi’s partners with Self Evident Truths to celebrate LGBTQIA+ voices with its 2020 Pride collection 

A Fashionista article also mentions that the Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) "will together focus their monetary support on organisations that champion marginalised people who are likely to be hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis. They include Chinese for Affirmative Action, which is fighting back against coronavirus-related racism directed at the Asian community; VisionSpring, which is pivoting to produce protective gear; Swasti in India, which supports apparel workers in India; Hubei Youth Foundation and more." 

The article also adds that Levis's is making efforts to ensure that their own employees and retirees are protected during this time.  

M.A.C Cosmetics


M·A·C Cosmetics announces that its longstanding VIVA GLAM campaign – which supports organisations and programs providing essential needs and services to vulnerable communities – will accelerate a $10 million USD donation to 250 organisations, enabling them to continue their vital services in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The additional support will provide M·A·C’s existing partners with emergency COVID-19 relief funds to continue providing vital services, including delivering food supplies, ensuring clients remain informed and on medication, and testing and treating diagnosed cases, particularly those who are immunocompromised.   

“Our clients are at great risk for COVID-19 – the majority are elderly, and all live with underlying conditions that make them especially susceptible to the coronavirus,” says Karen Pearl, President & CEO of God’s Love We Deliver. “Last week we were able to cook and deliver 44,000 medically tailored meals to our clients and their families and caregivers. Our meals are more important than ever to this vulnerable population during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. My great thanks goes out to our entire community of volunteers, staff and donors, like M·A·C VIVA GLAM, for their amazing support during these difficult times.”  

Additionally, VIVA GLAM will continue to raise money to support at-risk communities among women and girls, LGBTQ+ and those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  “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,” said John Demsey, Chairman of the M·A·C VIVA GLAM FUND & Executive Group President, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. “To leverage this 100% giving model to help people affected by COVID-19 is a continuation of the principles VIVA GLAM was founded on.”   

Sources: M.A.C Cosmetics, TodayReuters

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