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Prada, New Balance and Other Fashion Brands Making Masks to Help with COVID-19

“Made shoes yesterday, making masks today”

In Singapore, we’re lucky to have adequate medical supplies such as masks. But it’s a different story worldwide — the United States, for example, only has about 1% of the 3.5 billion masks it needs to combat the coronavirus. To help with this deadly pandemic and global mask shortage, street and high fashion brands have turned to their sewing machines to manufacture masks, with some even producing personal protective gear for healthcare workers. 

With this virus affecting over 100 countries, all help is needed. Below, some of the lifestyle and fashion brands doing their part. 

1. Prada to produce 80,000 medical overalls and 100,000 masks

Source: Prada

After donating two intensive care and resuscitation units to some of Milan’s biggest hospitals, Prada is again committing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by producing 80,000 medical overalls and 10,000 masks for healthcare personnel. All of the items are currently being made at the Italian label’s factory in Montone, and are set to be delivered by April 6. We don’t know if they would carry the Prada label, but that would be pretty dope. 

2. New Balance

Source: @newbalance | Instagram

Looking like the hottest thing on the street in a mask is definitely possible — only with New Balance’s version. The sneaker brand announced in an Instagram post that it is currently working to develop, manufacture and deliver facial masks to the hospital community. Based on how the prototype looks, this fashionable mask might still be in demand once this crisis is over. 

3. LVMH to supply 40 million masks and make free hand sanitiser

Source: Samuel Corum | Getty Images

French luxury conglomerate LVMH, responsible for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, has pledged to supply 40 million masks for the government and healthcare authorities in France. Previously, LVMH also converted its perfume and cosmetics factories to manufacture hydroalcoholic gel to compensate for the widespread hand sanitiser shortage in France. 

4. H&M, UNIQLO to make personal protective equipment & donate medical supplies

Source: UNIQLO

Fast fashion chains, often criticised for violating labour rights and contributing to global warming, are also stepping up to help with this global outbreak. H&M Group has announced that it will be producing and providing hospitals with personal protective equipment, and UNIQLO parent Fast Retailing has called upon its Chinese manufacturing partners to produce 10 million masks over the next two months. These masks will be donated to countries in dire need, such as the USA, Italy and Japan.

Elsewhere, brands like ZARA and Mango have also pledged to produce surgical masks and are currently in the process of distributing two million masks across Spain. We hope no one was overworked in the process! 

5. Dyson designed a new ventilator

Source: Dyson
Source: Dyson

Apart from masks and medical suits, hospitals are also in dire need of equipment such as respirators. Tech company Dyson has designed a new ventilator, called The CoVent, specially just for coronavirus patients. This sophisticated medical product was apparently designed and built in 10 days, and the only challenge now is to get it into mass production. If this innovation actually works, seeing a Dyson product in hospitals might potentially be the norm in future. 

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