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Burberry retools iconic trench coat factory to produce medical gear to fight Covid-19

By Huw Hughes

Mar 30, 2020

Fashion

Burberry is the latest fashion brand to announce it is focusing its efforts on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and will be repurposing its iconic trench coat production factory in Castleford, Yorkshire to produce non-surgical gowns and masks for patients.

Other efforts by the British luxury label will see it supplying 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS and donating to charities, including FareShare and The Felix Project, to help provide food to those who need it in the UK.

“In challenging times, we must pull together. The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat Covid-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time,” Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said in a statement. “Covid-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”

Burberry joins efforts to mitigate Covid-19

The company will also be funding research into a single-dose vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. The university’s head of medical sciences, professor Gavin Screaton, said: “We are delighted with Burberry's generous support for the University's research into a vaccine for Covid-19. Burberry's gift is an example of forward-thinking corporate philanthropy that complements and bolsters government and other investment in Oxford’s leading global talent in this field. Donations like this have real and rapid impact, allowing us to be agile in our response, to accelerate this time-critical research.”

Burberry earlier this month announced that its trading had deteriorated significantly since 24 January due to the impact of Covid-19 with its retail store sales tracking between negative 40 percent and negative 50 percent over a six week period.

Burberry is just the latest fashion company to get involved in the fight against Covid-19. Just a few others to get involved in relief efforts include fashion giants Kering, LVMH and H&M which all offered medical gear to professionals on the frontline of the fight against the virus, while footwear brand Crocs offered free shoes to US healthcare workers. Additionally, the British Fashion Council last week the British launched a Covid Crisis Fund to support creative fashion businesses and individuals during the crisis.

Photo courtesy of Burberry