As a result of people panic-buying mass quantities of hand sanitizer and face masks, there are now supply shortages across the world, with hospitals struggling to stock up as consumers buy in bulk. Because of this, several factories that produce fashion and beauty products are pivoting to creating hand sanitizer and protective hospital gear.
Business of Fashion reports on the phenomenon, which includes the luxury fashion company LVMH, responsible for brands like Givenchy and Christian Dior, and L’Oréal, both of which have started manufacturing hydroalcoholic gel in French factories to deal with a shortage. Inditex, which produces clothes for Zara in Spain, has started to make surgical gowns and face masks, and Chinese companies like Erdos and Cabbeen have switched from making clothing to making masks and protective suits following a government edict. In America, Dov Charney, formerly of American Apparel and now of Los Angeles Apparel, has offered his factory to produce supplies as well.
There are some understandable difficulties that come with suddenly transforming a factory that makes luxury goods into one that makes surgical wear, for example, Inditex reported they were still trying to source medical-grade fabric for gowns, and there are strict standards that come when creating medical gear. For now, factories like LVMH say they will continue to produce products for “as long as necessary,” whatever timeframe that may be.