For weeks, the fashion industry has queued up its collective force to help combat the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. In crisis-hit Italy, Prada is financing the ICUs of three new hospitals in Milan, in addition to reconfiguring its Perugia factory to produce face masks and medical garments. Gucci has provided over a million face masks and tens of thousands of medical overalls. LVMH – the conglomerate which owns brands from Dior to Givenchy, repurposed its perfume factories to produce hand sanitizer.
Now, Louis Vuitton has transformed its famed ready-to-wear atelier in rue du Pont Neuf to produce hospital gowns for Hôpitaux de Paris – the Parisian hospital center.
Like many of the efforts to date, brands have thrown their weight behind providing vital PPE (that’s personal protective equiptment) to frontline healthcare workers, who in many parts of the world find themselves working lengthy shifts in hospitals whose resources are at capacity.
“We are proud to be able to help healthcare professionals at our level and put our know-how at the disposal of the Hôpitaux de Paris to create gowns for medical staff,” said Michael Burke, the Chairman and CEO of LV, during his visit to the workshop. “I would like to thank the artisans of our atelier who voluntarily participate in this civic act and who have been bravely applying themselves since this morning to equip healthcare workers in hospitals who are in need of gowns.”
While the process of manufacturing the garments is currently manual – they’re each cut by hand at Pont Neuf – Louis Vuitton says that voluntary pattern cutters will begin to work from home simultaneously, to support the atelier. Later this week, an automated process will begin, allowing the brand to ramp up production of the PPE.
The move comes on the heels of the brand’s recent initiative to reopen 12 of its leathergoods sites in France to produce hundreds of thousands of face masks each week.