Fashion industry mobilises pandemic safety gear army

IRISH hat-maker to the royals Philip Treacy has joined the newly dubbed ‘visor army’, adding his renowned millinery design skills to produce special headgear for NHS frontline healthcare professionals in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

From fashion catwalks to hospital corridors big name designers are doing their part in the pandemic crisis


The A-list celebrity designer who is famous for millinery worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna as well as members of the royal family has described how he has been spurred on to produce special headgear for healthcare professionals.

“With the help of my studio staff I will be helping the ‘Visor Army’ to produce protective visors for healthcare professionals cross London,” said Philip Treacy on a recent Instagram post. “The current scenario meant an extraordinary shift in the way we live our lives and re-evaluation of what is important. No one is unaffected and all support, little or big, is a step closer to better days.”

The fashion industry as a whole has moved rapidly in response to the pandemic, instead of clothing turning out lines of protective gowns, masks and overalls. Burberry has responded with protective gowns for NHS frontline healthcare workers while LVMH has switched from fragrances to produce 12 tonnes of hand sanitiser for 39 hospitals in France.

Big brands including Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent are producing masks and overalls while Ralph Lauren has donated $10 million to pandemic-related causes.

British fashion designers Bethany Williams, Phoebe English and Holly Fulton have meanwhile formed the Emergency Designer Network, helping the NHS with gown and mask production in response to British Fashion Council requests for support.

Bethany Williams explained: “We are aiming to bring together an initial network of 10 designers and makers across London who could support the small-scale manufacturing of medical garments and face masks for medical teams, social carers and various support staff and key workers.”



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