“We are experiencing unprecedented times...”
It’s the daunting phrase that has echoed on news outlets around the world during the past few weeks. The most difficult part of this realization is that we have no idea how long these unprecedented times will last or how much we will lose in the interim. The enigmatic, evasive and lethal virus called COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has literally taken the world by storm, inciting governments to take anomalous measures in an effort to protect citizens from the virus and ultimately insulate them from the potential worst-case scenario - death.
Decision-makers around the globe haggled with the concept of shuttering everyday life and essentially locking citizens in their homes, worried about the impact that it would have on financial markets. As the silent and deadly virus weaselled its way from country to country, policymakers were left with no choice but to impose “stay at home” orders for the majority of their citizens, allowing only essential employees to continue to work. This solution, as expected, came with severe consequences.
Government shutdowns have led to faltering economies, lower and middle classes are struggling without paychecks, and consumer spending has been thrown for an unparalleled loop. Even the most optimistic financial predictions for economic recovery once the Coronavirus pandemic dwindles down are grim at best. While we are smack dab in the middle of the mayhem, it is challenging to envision life getting “back to normal” anytime soon.
Luxury Market Expected to Take the Plunge
“It’s a disaster for virtually every company that’s in the sector. We’re going to start to see this cascading effect across the industry.” - Pauline Brown, former LVMH chairman of North America
The largest luxury retail market in the world can be found in the U.S., racking up more than twice as much in retail luxury sales as China each year (see infographic below). After observing how China’s luxury market has suffered during the Coronavirus pandemic, experts are predicting it to be one of the hardest-hit sectors in the U.S. Forbes has predicted a loss of $11 billion in profits for luxury brands in 2020 because of the virus, but others disagree with that figure. One example of this is Business of Fashion, predicting a whopping $43 billion loss in the luxury sector due to Coronavirus. Time will only tell what the true numbers will reflect when COVID-19 is finished inflicting its damage.
As Forbes mentions, luxury purchases are largely dependent on consumer emotion. The Coronavirus threat is not only causing economic distress, like a war or recession, but it is also taking an emotional toll. Since people are worried about their personal financial situations, the economy as a whole, and their health and the health of their loved ones, anxieties and insecurities are bound to impact luxury spending.
The Silver Lining in the Clouds
Lives, economies, and healthcare systems were pushed past the brink of desperation as the world passed the daunting mark of one million positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, 2 April 2020. But times of crisis also open doors of opportunity. If we pay close attention, we will see the silver lining peeking through the storm clouds.
People are learning the art of genuine flexibility, exhibiting the willingness to switch from a “non-essential” job to an “essential” position that helps to fight the virus directly in their communities. Amid the utter chaos that has become our normal - for now, at least - everyone seems to be thinking about how they can do something that helps keep our lives, our towns and cities, our countries moving in a positive direction during the pandemic.
Businesses, small and large, have turned to this method of ingenious flexibility to determine ways they can contribute to society while the world fights against this evil monster called COVID-19. This natural determination to become flexible during a worldwide pandemic demonstrates that, no matter what, we, as humans, come up against, we can and will do what it takes to bond together (despite social distancing measures) and come out with the most positive outcome possible.
“We are going to make it through this.” - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
It is incredibly easy to get swept up in the vicious cyclone of negative news stories, but our Tydlos fam looks for the bright side of things, no matter what is happening in our world at any given time. We encourage and embrace the kind deeds that people do on a daily basis and appreciate how brands have stepped up to the plate lately. Let’s take a look at what luxury brands are doing to help fight the Coronavirus crisis during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.
Luxury Brands Step Up to Fight COVID-19
Luxury brands have been forced to close their doors in many countries around the world due to the Coronavirus shutdowns, but that has not stopped them from using their resources to help fight the pandemic. The Tydlos family extends our thanks to all of the brands that have altered their way of thinking and responded so readily to help combat the silent predator we call Coronavirus.
The CDC issued a statement regarding hand sanitizer, health professionals, and Coronavirus on their website. It explained that CDC-recommended alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with greater than 60% ethanol and 70% isopropanol) effectively inactivates viruses with similar properties and genetic structures as COVID-19. In healthcare settings, the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer appropriately, as it can help to prevent spreading the disease from patient to patient. This recommendation has influenced individual consumers attempting to remain Coronavirus-free, creating a shortage of hand sanitizer in affected countries.
The Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Hennessey, and Moët & Chandon brands are owned by the French multinational corporation, LVMH. In response to the outbreak, LVMH has embraced the need for hand sanitizer and decided to do something about it. The conglomerate has repurposed its makeup and perfume production lines to crank out as much hydroalcoholic gel as possible and deliver it to health authorities in France - for free. The French brand has also pledged to donate 40 million face masks.
The Italian luxury brand known for its jewelry, watches, accessories, fragrances, and leather goods is one of the many offspring of LVMH. The brand has donated to the Spallanzani Hospital, where researchers are currently working on a cure for the Coronavirus. Bulgari has also partnered up with ICR, creator of fine fragrances, to produce 100,000 bottles for hand sanitizer for distribution through the Italian Civil Protection Department.
The Italian luxury brand we know as Gucci is supplying 55,000 medical overalls and 1.1 million surgical masks. Additionally, Gucci plans to donate 2M Euros to crowdfunding campaigns for Coronavirus relief efforts, including the World Health Organisations’ COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the Italian Civil Protection Department. The brand is also using the #GucciCommunity hashtag to encourage fans to donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Prada, a.k.a. Prada S.p.A. restructured its Perugia factory to product 80,000 medical garments and 110,000 masks. The supplies will be delivered to Tuscan hospitals on April 6. The Italian luxury fashion house is also financing the ICU departments in three of the new hospitals in Milan.
The American fashion brand is pledging $10 million for relief efforts, which amounts to the largest donation of any luxury brand so far. The donation will be split between the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Fund, the World Health Organisations’ COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, and the Emergency Assistance Foundation. The company is planning the production of 25,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 face masks for healthcare workers, and they also committed an undisclosed donation to the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund to help out fashion designers that have been affected by the current economic situation.
Image Source: Flickr Artist Phillip Pessar
Back in February, the Chinese Red Cross Foundation received a donation of ¥1 million from the Italian luxury fashion brand. The ICU at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan will be blessed with donations from Donatella and Allegra Versace, who are donating €200,000 of their own personal funds, plus $400,000 from the brand. Versace is also pledging $100,000 to Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana, which has put up a valiant effort obtaining medical equipment and ventilators for Italian hospitals.
The beauty corporation has announced that it will be reopening its Melville, New York manufacturing facility for the production of hydroalcoholic gel for “high need groups and populations, including front-line medical staff.” It also donated $2 million to Doctors Without Borders to help the group fight Coronavirus in countries that lack necessary resources.
Michael Kors himself has pledged $1 million of his personal cash along with $1 million from his American fashion brand namesake to organisations in New York that are participating in relief efforts for Coronavirus.
Georgio Armani has donated $1.4 million to health organisations and hospitals in Italy.
Coming soon – 17 March. A limited-edition release exclusive to #TheBSeries— Burberry (@Burberry) March 13, 2020
Available to pre-order on Instagram for 24 hours only, our Cannon belt bag, crafted from pink ECONYL® and accented with a tonal logo appliqué https://t.co/Vtxhb4u19Y#BurberryGeneration pic.twitter.com/0pdUXoX7sa
The English luxury brand will manufacture non-surgical masks and gowns in its Yorkshire factory, as well as ensure quick delivery of 100,000 surgical masks to the U.K. National Health Service. Burberry is also funding research at the University of Oxford for development of a single-dose vaccine that is supposed to begin human trials within the next month. The brand has also donated to two United Kingdom organisations, The Felix Project and Fareshare, to help provide meals to those who need them.
American fashion designer, Christian Siriano, has offered his talent to sew face masks to help bridge the medical supply gap in New York.
Jaguar and Land Rover
The two luxury automotive brands, working under the umbrella of parent company Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, plan to deploy at least 160 vehicles to organisations such as the British Red Cross and Red Cross Societies in Australia, Spain, South Africa, and France to help curb the spread of Coronavirus. The brands also plan to send wraparound safety glasses to hospitals across the U.K, as well as loan vehicles to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
The French luxury brand has managed to retain every single one of its employees during this global crisis. Additionally, Chanel is working with authorities to produce protective masks and blouses.
The H&M Foundation, a not-for-profit owned by H&M Group, the Swedish multinational retail clothing company, donated $500,000 to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The brand has also decided to rearrange its extensive supply chain to produce personal protective equipment for distribution to hospitals around the world.
The London-based high fashion house specialising in luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and fragrances pledged a $500,000 donation split half-and-half to two organisations in the U.K., the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the National Health Service COVID-19 Urgent Appeal by NHS Charities Together.
The American luxury department store has partnered with Kaas Tailored, a manufacturing factory for the upholstery industry. Their alterations teams in Texas, Oregon, Washington, and California will create more than 100,000 masks for distribution by Providence Health & Services.
Saks Fifth Avenue
The American chain of luxury department stores, through its Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation, donated $600,000 to several organisations that are participating in COVID-19 relief efforts. The New York Presbyterian COVID-19 Patient Care Fund will receive $250,000, Bring Change to Mind, an organisation dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health and was co-founded by actress and activist Glenn Close, will procure $200,000. Finally, Girls Inc., which will focus on providing support for girls who are socially and emotionally affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, will acquire $150,000.
If this list of goodwill doesn’t make you want to break down the barriers that social distancing has created and give everyone a big hug, we don’t know what will. During this time of confusion and uncertainty, there are so many things we can do to spread goodwill. It doesn’t have to be a million dollar donation or 100,000 face masks. It could be as simple as a positive post on social media or a text to a friend.
Together, we will get through this!