As we ease ourselves out of the various lockdowns, we're reflecting on the past 18 months and how the world joined forces amid the Coronavirus pandemic. There's no denying that this year has been all about joining forces and thinking about others - and that has applied to some of the biggest brands across the globe.
The fashion and beauty industry was no doubt hit hard with the coronavirus pandemic, but amid the falling revenue numbers, there were plenty of CEOs who put their spreadsheets aside to find a valuable way to contribute during COVID-19 in some shape or form.
And the support is still coming! Just this week, Klarna, the leading global retail bank, payments, and shopping service, launched a new £3m Small Business Support Package to help British SMEs recover from the pandemic. The package comes as new research reveals a quarter (24%) of SMEs aren’t confident their business will survive the next two years with 46% of owners stating their main priority is to simply survive the next six months.
The Support Package will provide 100 retail SMEs with access to much-needed support across different elements of their business, from office space and customer acquisition to advertising support. Specifically, the fund will provide SMEs with ‘All Access’ WeWork passes for three months, complimentary use of Klarna’s products for one year and £15,000 of Klarna media services. Together this package equates to over £30,000 of support for each business.
From beauty brands creating much-needed handwash to fashion brands producing face masks for hospital workers, and the high-street uniting together for River Island's #StandingByTheHighStreet campaign, there really was kindness going around the world when we needed it the most. Here are some of the fashion and beauty brands that made a difference during the pandemic when times were tough…
L'Oréal implemented a series of measures for communities most impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The group and its family of brands donated more than half a million hygiene products and hand sanitisers to frontline healthcare workers in the UK and Ireland, serving the most vulnerable people and striving to curb the pandemic. The group donated a further 300,000 hand sanitisers to frontline retail staff that is ensuring the availability of essential goods and services to communities across the UK and Ireland. These products were provided completely free of charge.
The brands involved: L’Oréal Paris, Garnier, Kiehl’s, Lancôme, Urban Decay, YSL, House 99, L’Oréal Paris Men Expert, La Roche-Posay, CeraVe, Vichy, Roger and Gallet, Baxter of California, Kerastase, Redken, Matrix and Decleor.
What's more, the super brand donated 10,000 examination gloves to the London Ambulance Service, and 10,000 boxed sterile examination gloves to the London Ambulance Service through the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre at the Royal Institute.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop delivered 25,000 bars of soap and 25,000 tubes of hand cream to frontline NHS workers at the Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCel amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Avon announced a $1million commitment to frontline services to support women and children who were at increased risk of and suffering domestic abuse while in self-isolation. Avon also donated £150,000 to national domestic abuse charity, Refuge, which allowed the charity to mobilise its staff to work remotely and keep its 24-hour helpline operating.
In a statement, the former Spice Girl wrote: "At Victoria Beckham and Victoria Beckham Beauty, we firmly believe that during these uncertain times, feeding yourself and your family should not be one of those uncertainties. We are committed to helping the most vulnerable people in our communities: the nurses and healthcare workers who are sacrificing their own health to treat and care for others; the teachers who are continuing to support their classrooms; mothers and children, many of whom are now at home, balancing full-time jobs and homeschooling; and the elderly, who are at greatest health risk and unable to go out to shop for themselves. Above all, we stand behind the women who are supporting other women through this challenging time."
She continued: "This commitment is also why starting today, 25th March, we will be donating 20 percent of sales from victoriabeckham.com and victoriabeckhambeauty.com to Feeding America in the US and the Trussell Trust in the UK."
CEO and founder of PrettyLittleThing, Umar Kamani, donated his March salary towards supporting small businesses who were struggling. He revealed the news on his Instagram Live. As well, the brand offered 20 percent discount to NHS workers.
Amazon Fashion worked with the British Fashion Council’s official BFC Foundation Fashion Fund for the COVID-10 Crisis. This fund was established to support creative fashion businesses and individuals who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
French Connection launched a #TreatTuesday series and every Tuesday, the fashion brand gave their social media followers the chance to tag family members or friends who needed a little love, or someone they believe has gone the extra mile - for example NHS staff and key workers who they feel needs a little joy in their lives during these unprecedented times. Ten followers were selected - along with their nominated hero - each week to share a little #TreatTuesday surprise.
To help tackle the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the H&M Group quickly arranged for its supply chain to produce personal protective equipment to be provided to hospitals and health care workers.
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The Spanish superstore, favoured by celebrities such as Stacey Solomon and Holly Willoughby, converted its factories to create masks and hospital gowns for first responders in Spain.
John Lewis responded to requests from NHS workers for anything that would make their breaks more comfortable. The retailer donated items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream, as well as 50,000 Easter treats, to hospitals.
Tan-Luxe shut down production of its tanning products to create an antibacterial hyaluronic hand cleanser called Hand-Luxe.
Kim Kardashian's SKIMS
Kim Kardashian West’s super popular Skims shapewear line donated 20 percent of profits from the Cotton Collection collection to Baby2Baby’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Program.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop launched several initiatives to combat COVID-19 globally. In the UK, the brand’s team donated care packages to local hospitals.
In an email to customers, ASOS wrote: "It's incredibly important to us to show our massive appreciation to the hard-working, dedicated NHS staff, so we're offering them a 20 percent ASOS discount with the Blue Light Card and Health Service Discounts – and we're also looking at ways to offer help through our distribution channels."
ASOS also launched a charity T-shirt that sold out time and time again.
The skincare brand supported UK NHS & Ireland HSE staff by donating L’OCCITANE hand creams to soothe their sore hands from frequent hand washing.
The footwear brand loved by celebrities is renowned for bringing a smile to people's faces which is why the shoe designer gifted 200 NHS workers with her FlyBy trainers. She said that she was "hoping to bring a little joy to NHS workers on the front line - hoping to bring a little joy to the selfless medics going through these unprecedented times."
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The parent company of Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Gucci made face masks to support medical professionals who were running low on personal protective equipment. The statement read: "In the days ahead, Kering will provide the French health service with 3 million surgical masks, which the Group will purchase and import from China."
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group, ordered 40 million health masks from a Chinese supplier to help France cope with the coronavirus outbreak. This move followed the brand's decision to produce hand sanitiser for French hospitals at its workshops.
British designer Phoebe English announced on Instagram that she had machinery that could be of use to make additional face masks.
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In Italy, Prada converted one of its factories to produce 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 surgical masks. The brand's CEOs, Miuccia Prada Patrizio Bertelli, and chairman Carlo Mazzi, also donated six intensive care units to hospitals in Milan.
Bridal brand Pronovias donated wedding dresses to hospital-employed brides-to-be. As part of the #LoveConquersAll initiative, the label curated a range aptly named the 'Heroes Collection', with dresses that they have been donating to hospital staff around the world since launching the programme in China at the start of the year.
The team at Pai rallied together to create a hand sanitiser in just two weeks and called it 'Acton Spirit', after the team and where they are based in London. Pai is committing to a buy one, give one approach with this product, donating to those vulnerable in the community.
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Following InTheStyle’s pledge to support Age UK with donations from its Olivia Bowen x In The Style edit, the overwhelming customer support convinced them to do a further 10 percent donation of proceeds across all sales on inthestyle.com directly to Age UK.
The beauty brand OSKIA swapped lab production to create hand sanitisers to distribute across local care homes near their factory in Monmouth, Wales, before extending this out to customers to ensure everyone has a helping hand.
UpCircle sent out care packages to NHS staff as a token of gratitude and to keep spirits up.
Revolve donated 10,000 N95 FDA hospital approved face masks to two hospitals in Los Angeles that needed support with protective equipment.
TK Maxx and Homesense
TK Maxx and Homesense provided some positivity, working closely with the Red Cross Disaster Relief Alliance and a network of charities to support those affected by the crisis. When the stores were closed, all product from the food departments from each store was taken to local foodbanks near the stores to help their important community work. The brands also donated vouchers for the Red Cross to buy clothing and essential items for those in isolation who are in need.
Project Runway's Christian Siriano pledged to use his skills and resources to create face masks and gowns for healthcare workers. Christian first used Twitter to offer his team's assistance to New York, after Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed concern over a shortage of essential protective equipment.
One of Meghan Markle's favourite designers, Brandon Maxwell, pledged his support as well. "In response to the global crisis, we are now focusing our creative efforts on manufacturing PPE (personal protective equipment), starting with gowns," he wrote on social media. "We have spent the last week researching the appropriate medical textiles to create these gowns and are proud to provide these much-needed items to the doctors and nurses on the front lines of this crisis."
Another favourite of Duchess Meghan, Everlane donated all proceeds from its 100 percent Human collection to Feeding America. The collection included sweatshirts, T-shirts and tops.
The Duchess of Cambridge is a big fan of French fashion label Sézane, and we're sure she was thrilled that the brand donated 10 percent of proceeds to support French hospitals.
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Coty Inc., the beauty manufacturer behind makeup and fragrance brands such as Calvin Klein, announced it would be using its manufacturing sites to provide free hydro-alcoholic gel to medical and emergency services.
In a statement, the luxury beauty brand wrote: "To minimise the spread of COVID-19, Guerlain is proud to do their part in this global effort. As of this week, they converted their La Ruche fragrance makeup and skincare factory and Orphin fragrance factory into hand sanitiser production sites. This hand sanitiser is not for sale. Rather, it is freely being shared with French healthcare workers and hospitals. Guerlain hope this small act can protect the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff caring for others on the front line of this pandemic."
My Wardrobe HQ
The kind folks over at My Wardrobe HQ, the UK's leading rental platform, utilised their mobile styling van to pick up essentials for their local community in London's Chelsea and South Kensington areas.
All UK Kurt Geiger store managers worked with their Local NHS Hospitals to give £100 gift cards to NHS workers in the critical care departments of their local hospitals. What's more, NHS workers received a 50 percent discount for a year in all Kurt Geiger stores once they re-open. CEO Neil Clifford suspended his salary until stores opened again and all staff were paid - though they were urged to help their local communities.
Lady Gaga’s beauty line, Haus Labs, donated 20 percent of a week’s worth of sales to food banks in New York City and Los Angeles providing food to those impacted by COVID-19.
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Scamp and Dude
The brand's slogan - 'not all superheroes wear capes' was extremely apt during lockdown, which is why the brand decided to donate a sweatshirt to NHS staff on the frontline for every sweatshirt sold over a 24-hour period. On their Instagram, the brand posted: “We’ve decided to donate a sweatshirt to NHS staff on the frontline for every one sold over the next 24 hours. I realise this is a bold move with such financial uncertainty for us small businesses, but we feel that it’s our duty to send some superpowers their way."
The luxury brand donated 10,000 masks to the Municipality of Bologna. CEO Pascal Perrier said in a statement: "La Perla is committed, in coordination with the local authorities, to guarantee its support to the city of Bologna and Emilia-Romagna Region for as long as it is necessary to face this crisis."
Missoma gifted 100 gold necklaces to NHS staff members (selected randomly and chosen from those tagged in the comments on its Instagram post) as a small token of gratitude for their work during the COVID-19 crisis.
Lulu Guinness asked its online community to share acts of kindness that were being carried out in their local areas. A mood-lifter for our current situation, the brand ended up selecting a couple of nominees each week to pick a bag of their choice.
Kate McIver Skin
Skincare brand Kate McIver Skin sent bottles of the Secret Weapon Serum into ICU departments to help NHS staff who were suffering from sore faces after wearing masks. The brand also gave all front line workers a discount on products.
Baukjen and Isabella Oliver
Fashion brands Baukjen and Isabella Oliver partnered with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) to launch the ‘Hope’ Organic Sweatshirt and honour their commitment to give back. The knitted rainbow design was aptly named ‘Hope’ - 50% of net proceeds from the sales were donated to GOSH Charity, which supports seriously ill children from across the UK.
River Island joined forces with a number of UK high street retailers (including John Lewis, M&S, Primark, Topshop, Topman) to launch a social activation #StandingByTheHighStreet, in a bid to support the UK high street struggling in the wake of the national lockdown. Followers were encouraged to share a yellow heart, a symbol of positivity and love, to show that they intend to stand by the high street. This small action was intended to give retail teams across the UK, who have been working tirelessly through these uncertain times, a boost as stores reopened.
Following an overwhelmingly positive response from customers, River island now wants to turn #StandingByTheHighStreet into a movement, and have called on their high street neighbours to get involved by also posting a yellow heart graphic along with the message ‘We Love the High Street’.
Kit Heath x HELLO!
Together with the award-winning British jewellery brand Kit Heath, HELLO! created a beautifully elegant sterling-silver Kindness necklace with an oval charm of two interconnected elements to represent protection and support. With every necklace you buy comes with a £5 voucher to donate to your choice of charity from our shortlist of five. The five brilliantly worthy causes are: Heads Together, Age UK, Make 2nds Count, Refuge, The Black Curriculum.
Kit Heath x HELLO! Kindness necklace, £99.99, Kit Heath
Join the #HelloToKindness movement by sharing a sweet act of kindness on Instagram using the hashtag #HelloToKindness.
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