In These Anxious Times, Let The Endless Wisdom Of DVF Guide You

She's famous for sage advice.


by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

When Diane Von Furstenberg was preparing to launch her podcast, InCharge, she had no idea that life was about to change beyond all imagining. Ten days after its release date on 12th of March, New York entered a state of lockdown and, like much of the Western world, won’t emerge for the foreseeable future.

‘This is a very strange moment in history,’ the 76 year-old designer says on the phone from her country home in Connecticut. ‘We’re all isolated. Offices are closed, shops are closed. It’s a very disturbing thing. People are losing their jobs and people don’t have the security of knowing what tomorrow will be.’

InCharge, available on Spotify now, is a series of intimate conversations with personalities like Kris Jenner, Priyanka Chopra, Elaine Welteroth and Karlie Kloss. You can tell from the sub-headings after their names - ‘Mother First, Mogul Second’ and ‘Claiming Your Path by Owning Your Purpose’ for example - that these women, like Diane herself, have lashings of life experience to impart. ‘The point of these conversations is to discuss challenges and vulnerabilities because, of course, that’s what’s most inspiring,’ she says.

The podcast’s name comes from Diane’s childhood dream of being a woman in charge (her iconic wrap dress, first introduced in the 1970s, was an easy style solution for women who want it all - and aren't afraid to go out and get it), but what does it mean to her now? ‘Being in charge, first and foremost, is a commitment to yourself. It’s owning who you are. It’s being responsible and being true to yourself.’ This is something that the designer feels strongly about. ‘The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship in life. Once you have that, any other relationship is a plus and not a must.’ She also believes that a person’s character is their biggest commodity, especially in times of trouble like today. ‘You could lose your health, your wealth, you could lose everything. But you never lose your character. You character, your relationship to yourself, your commitment to yourself, all of that is what makes you in charge.’

It’s obviously a challenging time for fashion businesses like Diane’s. Her stores are temporarily closed and her staff are working remotely. ‘It’s a very, very difficult moment,’ she admits. The brand is donating 10% of global sales to the World Health Organization and NoKidHungry, a charity doing vital work to help schools and community groups feed children during the coronavirus pandemic. Her Instagram series, #InChargeAtHome, is also helping to radiate messages of positivity and coping strategies to the global DVF family. When we do emerge, how does she think the industry will have changed? ‘Everything is going to be different,’ she says.

For now, Diane says it’s important to remain grateful. ‘My heart really goes to refugees and people in jail and the homeless,’ she says. ‘If you have a bed and a roof and you can get a little food, you’re lucky. Wherever we are, the first feeling in the morning should be gratitude, no matter what.’ We also need to learn from what’s happening to the world. ‘Call it the universe, call it God, call it nature, but something somewhere is trying to tell us [to] think deeply about what’s important and what’s not,’ says Diane.

Her parting advice? ‘Remember that you are your best friend and all the strength will come from you. Remember to say ‘thank you’ before you blame or you complain. [This is] our opportunity to search within ourselves and become a little bit more human.’


Fashion For Relief: The Designers, Influencers and Brands Supporting In The Battle Against Coronavirus

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For every product sold in its Paula's Ibiza collection between May and August 2020, Loewe is donating 40 euros to educational projects in collaboration with Plataforma de Infancia, with an initial donation of 500,000 euros. This alliance of social organisations works to protect children's rights and will be launching a series of education programs this summer to reduce inequality and school dropouts. Loewe is also producing non-surgical masks in its Getafe factory to be distributed between volunteer workers, and Loewe workers and their families.

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Louis Vuitton

The French fashion house is producing hospital gowns in its atelier in Paris, which will be provided to frontline workers in six Parisian hospitals who are taking care of patients suffering from Covid-19. 20 volunteers are working to create thousands of gowns, which will act as part of medical officials' protective equipment.

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Barbour is using its South Shield factory to produce gowns for medical staff in the North East, free of charge. Some of the proud recipients took to Twitter to voice their gratitude. Dr. Alice Wort, for example, said: 'Thank you @Barbour. You thoroughly deserve these royal crests. The quality of these new gowns is amazing. They mean so much to our staff. Proud of our British manufacturers. @QEGateshead.'

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Making use of the production lines in its perfume and make-up factories, LVMH announced that it would produce and supply hydroalcoholic gels from yesterday. Normally the producer of cosmetics for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy, the factories would now not only manufacture the hand sanitising gel, but also aid in its free distribution amongst health professionals and local authorities in France. In a statement, the company has said 'LVMH will continue to honour this commitment for as long as necessary, in connection with the French health authorities.'

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Kering has made a donation of about $144 Million donation to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation on behalf of all of its brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga. They're also currently in the process of preparing 3million surgical masks to France with Gucci preparing 1.1 million For Italy.

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After a rise in fatalities in Italy, Prada has donated six intensive care units and three resuscitation units to three Milanese hospitals. The donation came personally from co-CEOs Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, alongside chairman Carlo Mazzi. On the 18th March, Prada also started the production of 80'000 medical overalls, 110'000 masks and daily deliveries to healthcare professionals in Milan which are set to be completed by 6th April.

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Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani donated 1.25 million euros to both hospitals and institutions in Milan, battling the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Donatella & Allegra Versace

Mother and daughter duo Donatella and Allegra Versace have donated just over £165,000 towards intensive care units at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.

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As well as purchasing a 3D high-definition microscope for Rome's Spallanzani Hospital, Bulgari spent a month repurposing its fragrance production centre in the Lombardy region so it can now manufacture up to 6,000 units of hand sanitiser per day that will be donated to medical facilities.

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Chiara Ferragni

Influencer Chiara Ferragni managed to amass over four million euros to aid in the research, care and maintenance surrounding the Coronavirus in Milan. She'll also be hosting livstreamed concerts by the likes of Andrea Bocelli on Instagram Live.

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Khaite NY

Khaite announced that it would be donating $10,000 to the non-profit organisation Baby2Baby, which is providing essential items to children and families impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, for the next 30 days, the brand will donate 10% of sales to Baby2Baby.

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3.1 Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim has started an archive sale to help support all of the staff financially and with medical coverage, while also sending them home to keep both his employees and customers safe.

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Kurt Geiger

With the closure of their stores nationwide, Kurt Geiger's CEO, Neil Clifford, has suspended his own salary until stores reopen. All of Kurt Geiger's UK store managers are also working with their Local NHS Hospitals to give £100 gift cards to 55 NHS workers in the critical care departments of their local hospitals. In a statement, they said, 'Kurt Geiger is determined to do as much as it can to support its local communities and local hospitals and over the next four weeks will be focused on acts of support and kindness trying to play its part in bringing a little bit of the rainbow to as many impacted people as they can.'

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Sergio Rossi

From the 14th to the 20th of March, 100% of all online sales will be donated to support the fight against the global pandemic. Alongside this, $100,000 was donated to local Milanese hospitals.

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Pyer Moss

As well as turning his NYC studio into a donation centre for medical supplies, he has set aside $5000 to obtain these supplies alongside a further $50'000 for minority and women owned small creative businesses 'who are currently in distress. If you cannot make payroll or cannot cover pressing costs to keep your business afloat, please reach out, let us know what you do and how we can help'.

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Three Graces London

In an instagram post, Three Graces London revealed that 'For the next two full weeks, we're donating 100% percent of all net sales to homeless charity Crisis, in support of their efforts to protect the homeless through the coronavirus outbreak.⁠'

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Ven Store London

A total of £5,000 was donated to The Trussell Trust and God's Love We Deliver, charities working hard to get food across the city to the most viewable at this time. On top of this, 10% of all sales will go towards the charity.

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Moncler has donated 10 million euros towards the construction of a new hospital in the Lombardy region, the epicentre of Italy's coronavirus crisis, to urgently increase the region's ICU capacity.

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Sézane has just launched its new Ceremony collection, of which it will be giving 10% of all proceeds to the emergency aid fund, set up for the Foundation of French hospitals.

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Alighieri Jewellery

20% of all commerce sales will be donated to the Trussell Trust, supporting food banks across the UK amidst the pandemic.

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British Fashion Council

The British Fashion Council, alongside other designers and brands in the industry (Private White VC, Phoebe English) are coming together in a bid to help with the production of vital equipment and products using their currently available workspaces.

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Paris Texas

Paris Texas are supporting the San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, Italy, where they were founded. With the biggest problem being space and intensive care units, they pledged to support however they can.

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Stephen Webster

In this difficult time, Stephen Webster has announced that he will be donating 10% of all total sales values for all of his online transactions. Donations will go to the chartity MIND, who focuses on offering advice and support with mental health.

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Making use of its global supply chain, H&M will be aiding the manufacture of personal protective equipment, to be provided to hospitals and healthcare workers. In a press release they stated, 'H&M Group will utilize its supply chain capacity, including its widespread purchasing operations and logistics capabilities, in order to start delivering as soon as possible. The company's supply chain teams around the world are now collectively supporting in these initial efforts to support countries and communities worldwide.'

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John Smedley

With 2020 marking 200 years since Florence Nightingale was born, John Smedley have launched a Florence Nightingale x John Smedley capsule collection, inspired by the great British nurse, her iconic blue and white hues and gold embroidery. 20% of all sales will be donated to Nightingale Nurses.

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After restocking its most sought after cotton collection yesterday, Kim Kardashsian's Skims line pledged to donate 20% of all of the drops profits to Baby2Baby, a charity on the ground aiding in children, mothers and families impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic providing diapers, blankets, hygiene products and School supplies amongst other things.

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The parent company of Valentino and Balmain, Mayhoola, has donated 2 million euros to combat the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Mayhoola said, 'We are very close to the Italian population and we are constantly monitoring the evolution of the pandemic in the country. We are pained to see what is happening in Milan and we strongly hope that this decisive action can help the doctors and their teams of Sacco Hospital.' It has also just announced a donation of 1 million euros to the French charity La Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris - Hôpitaux de France (FHP-HF) to support French caregivers and hospitals during the crisis, as well as 1 million euros towards the expansion of Madrid's emergency field hospital with the Madrid Exhibition Center.

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Dolce & Gabbana

The luxury Italian house announced that it will be collaborating with Italy's Humanitas University, donating funds to the research led by its professors Alberto Mantovani and Cecilia Garlanda alongside Elisa Vincenzi and Massimo Clementi, virologists at the San Raffaele University. Their research aims to find a solution to the growing pandemic. 'We felt we had to do something to fight this devastating virus. In these cases, it is important to make the right choice. This is why we thought Humanitas University would be the ideal partner. In the face of these tragedies [on] such a vast scale, each action may seem insignificant, but Professor Mantovani told us the African fable about a hummingbird. While all the other animals were fleeing from a fire in the forest, it flew in the opposite direction, continuing to bring water in the attempt to put out the fire. We understood that in any case it was worth doing something. Even a very small gesture can have enormous significance. Supporting scientific research is a moral duty for us, we hope our contribution will help to solve this problem.'

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Brandon Maxwell

The designer famous for his Met Gala creations for Lady Gaga has been researching medical textiles to make personal protective equipment - so far producing gowns and mask covers - for doctors and nurses on the frontline. Brandon Maxwell also took to Instagram to announce that he'll be donating three weddings to brides in need. 'As a company who has been fortunate to play a small part in so many women's special days, we realize the current crisis and the economic repercussions from it may have already deeply affected you,' he posted.

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Christian Siriano

Instead of fairytale gowns, Christian Siriano's team is now busy sewing hundreds of masks a day for the covid-19 relief effort. 'Powerful women right here! This is what Fashion is right now for us. Making hundreds of masks a day and that's what we can do to help. Thank you to my team for this and thank you to our friends who donated to help,' the designer posted on Instagram.

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H&M Group

H&M Group, which owns high street chains such as H&M, COS, Arket and Weekday, is producing personal protective equipment for hospitals and healthcare workers. Anna Gedda, head of sustainability, says: 'The coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organisations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation. We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible.'

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The fashion pack's favourite hosiery company, Heist, is giving away 500 pairs of tights to NHS workers. All they have to is email support@heist-studios from their NHS address.

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Diane Von Furstenberg

On the 12th March, DVF hosted a live-streamed charity event from its flagship store with all proceeds of it's 'Be Strong Wuhan, With Love From DVF' T-shirts, aiding the Dream foundation whose work is in sterilising educational equipment and schools in China. Now, they're giving back 10% of all sales of all orders to the World Health Organisation and the charity No Kid Hungry.

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Ridley London

Ridley London's newly launched campaign alongside charity, 'Re-engage', is a way in which they've decided to help older people stay connected amidst isolation. Proceeds of their new sleepwear range will go towards telephone befriending programmes programmes. Prior to the quarantine, the charity engaged in social activities such as monthly tea-parties to tackle the widespread loneliness amongst our older population. Camilla Ridley, the Co-Founder and designer at Ridley London said, 'I was inspired to help by my 82 year old stepmother who brought me up, who lives alone and is at high risk so would have to completely self-isolate. She has come to live with me whilst the outbreak continues. It made me think about all the older people who don't have a family who can help, who are trapped at home with no one to talk to help them feel better'.

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Valentino Garavani & Giancarlo Giammetti

Via their Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti Foundation, 1 million euros will be donated to support the coronavirus combat. The money will aid the new Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome, a new hospital set to be fully operational next week. In a statement, they said, 'Our deepest gratitude goes to those women and men who are fighting night and day to save human lives in our hospitals. We will never be thankful enough for the love and dedication they are demonstrating in such a dramatic moment.'

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Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss have now dedicated their clothing manufacturing production line to the cause by producing face masks that will then be donated to public facilities. Blended from a cotton material, they can be washed and reused up to 50 times in nursing homes, fire departments and police.

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Alberta Ferretti

15% of every purchase made on their online store will be donated to the Local Health Authority of Romagna and the Humanitas Clinical Institute of Milan - two organisations currently battling via daily research research studies and healthcare activities surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini will be donating 15% of proceeds of each online order purchased via their website. Donations will be granted to the Local Health Authority of Romagna and the Humanitas Clinical Institute of Milan.

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Gucci have made a 2 million euro donation both within Italy, its homeland, as well as on a worldwide level. 1 million has been donated to the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, in support of the World Health Organization. In a statement, Gucci Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, stated, 'This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world. Their generosity and courage light our way forward in these difficult days. By supporting each other and helping those who are most vulnerable among us, we will be able to overcome this crisis: united, even more than before.'

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Sandro Veronesi, president of the Calzedonia Group, has converted a number of its production plants to be able to produce medical masks and gown in two Italian based plants as well as Croation plants. With a production capacity of 10'000 masks a day, the first delivery of masks were donated to The Hospital of Verona and City of Verona on March 23rd.

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Sophia Webster

Sophia Webster have donated 200 pairs of their FlyBy Trainers to NHS workers on the frontline, nominated by friends and family on their instagram.

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Burberry has just announced its four-pronged approach to tackling the coronavirus. As well as fast-tracking the delivery of over 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS and repurposing its Yorkshire factory to make non-surgical gowns and masks for patients, it's funding research into the University of Oxford's single-dose vaccine and donating to charities including FareShare and The Felix Project to help alleviate food poverty across the UK.

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Net-a-Porter has closed distribution centres in London, but its delivery vans are still very in operation, supporting the charity Age UK by delivering care packages to the elderly and vulnerable.

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Make It British and Fashion Roundtable

Make It British, the organisation that has been supporting businesses that manufacture in the UK since 2011, and Fashion Roundtable, a body that advocates for sustainable growth for the entire industry in the global marketplace, are helping the country's textile industry produce PPE for frontline healthcare workers. Designers like Phoebe English, Bethany Williams and Holly Fulton, meanwhile, are producing non-frontline protective clothing with the Emergency Designer Network. Fashion Roundtable is also lobbying the government on behalf of the fashion industry, bringing issues such as salary protection for freelancers and self-employed workers into the spotlight.

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Boden is partnering with Helpforce, an organisation that supports volunteers in hospitals, to donate clothes to those that need them. From nightwear for NHS workers who can't return home at the end of their shift to garments for recovered patients to wear when they leave hospital, it's a small thing that will hopefully bring a smile to people's faces.

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Mackintosh, the British label who has been making trench coats since the industrial revolution, has stopped production at its factory in Nelson, Lancashire. Instead workers, who have volunteered themselves for the task, are now busy sewing NHS nurses uniforms.

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Carolina Bucci

Carolina Bucci, the Italian jeweller, is donating 25% of online sales to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund at Florence's Careggi Hospital. She's also started an initiative called 'Isolate & Create', a series of printable pages that can be coloured in and folded to make whimsical origami characters. Why not give it a go today?

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O Pioneers

The independent dress label, specialising in prairie frocks that will have you yearning for wide open plains, is donating 15% of every sale to Age UK Camden. The founders have even been putting together food parcels for the charity, who is delivering food and supplies to the borough's isolated and elderly.

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The Della Valle family

The Della Valle Family, who own Tod's, has donated 5 million Euros, also on behalf of its employees, to support the family members of health personnel who lost their lives in the fight against coronavirus.

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Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo is launching a sketch competition on Instagram - #CHOOSketch. Followers simply submit designs of their dream shoes and creative director, Sandra Choi, will then shortlist the 10 best. From there, followers will vote for the top five designs, which will be made into a special capsule in aid of a charity within the Jimmy Choo Foundation.

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Begg & Co

The Scottish knitwear brand, Begg & Co, will be donating sales from three of its most iconic blue products to NHS Charities Together. It has also launched a space on its website called 'Our Comfort Blanket' which, like your favourite throw, is instantly soothing with its combination of meditation tips and author interviews for its virtual book club.

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Midlands-based Sunspel is repurposing old fabrics to make 500 laundry bags for NHS staff, as well as 400 face masks for food vendors, at Queen's Hospital in Nottingham. The idea is simple: they put their uniforms straight in at the end of their shift and put the laundry bag directly into the washing machine at home, reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

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Natasha Zinko x Duo

Natasha Zinko x Duo is making face masks for CNS and City Sprint, London-based couriers, who are still on the ground doing deliveries. The designer has also created extra to sell, with 50% of profits going to NHS's Covid-19 Relief Fund.

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De Beers

De Beers Group is contributing $2,500,000 across Botswana and Namibia in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Its contribution in both countries will support governments and communities in their sourcing of medical supplies, logistical support, vulnerability assessment support plans, food security for vulnerable households, water supply to communities, education about Covid-19 and local clinical support.

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Aspinal of London

The handbag label has launched an interactive social initiative called #AspinalHeroes, asking its followers to show appreciation to those at the frontline of the crisis by nominating theirs. Every week, Aspinal will be rewarding 100 #AspinalHeroes with a personalised surprise as a small gesture to say 'thank you'.

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MOSCOT has partnered with Cherry Optical Labs to provide free eyewear to frontline US healthcare workers, the idea being that wearing glasses is a small step forwards to reducing exposure to airborne particles.

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Crocs has donated more than 200,000 pairs of its comfortable and easy-to-clean shoes to hospital workers around the world. The brand is also giving online customers the opportunity to contribute £10 towards a pair for a healthcare professional - and is sending one pair of shoes for every contribution.

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Mango has produced 13,000 gowns for healthcare workers in collaboration with the Pablo Horstmann Foundation, a non-profit that has acquired 30,000m of approved fabric, and will be distributing them among hospitals, nursing homes and centres for people with disabilities.

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Ralph Lauren

As well as partnering with the CFDA Foundation to donate 250,000 masks and 25,000 gowns in the US, Ralph Lauren has made a donation to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in the UK. This will help enable The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to purchase a specialist machine to test for Covid-19, allowing the hospital to find out whether patients, immunocompromised as a result of treatment, have the virus so that they can be cared for in the appropriate environment and further transmission can be avoided.

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As well as helping everyone at home keep fit and healthy with live-streamed workouts on its YouTube channel and a wealth of ideas online, Nike's innovation, manufacturing and product teams are partnering with Oregon Health & Science University to produce PPE equipment (full-face shields and powered air-purifying respirator lenses (PAPR)) to protect healthcare workers.

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