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Canadian fashion companies join fight against COVID-19

Delhi News-Record 2020-03-26 05:26:50

Two designers use a CAD software to design a protective face mask at Cifra production plant on March 25, 2020 in Verano Brianza, near Milan, Italy. Cifra is a manufacturing company producing garments for leading global fashion brands. Following the novel Coronavirus outbreak in Italy, Cifra has converted its industrial activities to patent and produce a high-tech, double layered and water-repellent protective face mask for civil use. Emanuele Cremaschi / Getty Images

Canadian fashion companies have begun stepping up to join the battle to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A host of international fashion companies and designers — including Prada, Christian Siriano, Louis Vuitton Moet Henessey (LVMH), H&M and Kering-owned Yves Saint Laurent — pledged their support this week for frontline health care workers by either producing items such as face masks, scrubs and patient gowns, or using their international buying power to procure masks from Asian manufacturers to be donated to healthcare organizations.

Their efforts are a bid to lessen the strain of supply shortages for those who are working on the front lines in health care facilities. Working with patients with communicable diseases requires donning a variety of protective measures including N95 respirator masks, goggles, shoe covers and more.

“Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the frontlines of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities, and they need help. Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good,” Dani Reiss, the president and chief operating officer of Canada Goose, said.

“Our employees are ready, willing and able to help, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s the Canadian thing to do.”

On Wednesday, the luxury outerwear company announced it would shift production at Toronto-area manufacturing facilities to scrubs and patient gowns by early next week, with the goal of delivering an initial round of 10,000 garments.

Vancouver designer Jason Matlo recently announced an initiative to create masks and face shields to donate to a local group called Mutual Aid Vancouver, which aims to “lend a hand” with grocery delivery and medication pickup to locals in need such as the elderly and immune compromised.

Funded through a GoFundMe campaign, Matlo shared in a post to Facebook that his masks are designed with “guidance from a healthcare professional” and will be given to Mutual Aid Vancouver volunteers to wear during their missions.

Another local brand, Salts and West from Vancouver Island, recently announced they would be shifting their production away from apparel in order to focus on making reusable textile masks.

In a post on Facebook, brand owner Jennifer Graham noted the masks are not intended to be a substitution for N95 masks for medical professionals, but are meant to be an option for personnel seeing non-COVID-19 related patients in order to ease the short supply of specialized masks.

Companies in the beauty industry are getting in on the mission, too.

The Vancouver-based Riversol announced the launch of a hand sanitizer program that will see the donation of free cases of hand sanitizer to community organizations in Canada. Riversol will also be selling hand sanitizers on its website for $5, with full proceeds going toward funding the further donation of hand sanitizers to local organizations.

The Estée Lauder Companies announced on Tuesday its plans to reopen their manufacturing facility in Melville, Ont. in order to produce hand sanitizer for “high-need groups and populations.”

L’Oréal Canada recently announced its factory in Ville St. Laurent, Quebec would begin manufacturing hydro-alcoholic gels to be distributed free to hospitals and healthcare professionals, including Montreal University Hospital Centre and McGill University Hospital.

Last week, The Body Shop initiated a program that will see the donation of approximately 30,000 units of cleansing products to “vulnerable communities” across Canada.

The list of beneficiaries on the company’s list includes more than 30 organizations in B.C. including the Richmond Food Bank, Guildford Seniors Village, and Salvation Army Vernon. To learn more, visit


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