PARIS — As the fashion industry jumps in to assist in the fight against coronavirus, Kering is purchasing 3 million surgical masks that it will import from China and provide to French health services.
In a statement Sunday, the company also said that Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent plan to manufacture masks, following strict health protection measures for staff. Manufacturing processes and materials have been approved by relevant authorities, the company added.
The luxury group noted it has made a financial donation to the Institut Pasteur to support research efforts related to COVID-19.
Fashion and textile companies in Europe and the U.S. are beginning to produce face masks to help health authorities deal with shortages as the COVID-19 spreads. In the U.S., companies including Fruit of the Loom and American Knits have formed a coalition to get production underway.
In Spain, Zara owner Inditex is working to repurpose production sites to make protective gowns, and has put its supply network to use to procure masks for the Spanish government from China.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has also ordered masks from China and plans to deliver 10 million to the French government in the coming week.
The French government has called on fashion and textile companies for assistance producing masks and turned to other industries for help making hydroalcoholic sanitizer.
Kering earlier this month made donations to hospitals in Italy, and Gucci will be donating over a million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls, answering a call from the Tuscan regional authorities for assistance.
The group also donated to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation in late January in China.