The new ethical? It means giving back in times of need! These are some of our favourite brands giving back during Covid
By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
This is not an easy time for us, economically.
With almost the entire world being forced into lockdown, people are losing their jobs, entrepreneurs are losing their businesses, and populations are being forced to accept government handouts – if they’re lucky.
There is some relief: for example, the British Fashion Council intends to raise £50 million for struggling designers.
In my country, Italy, Giorgio Armani has not only donated 2 million euros to hospitals in Milan, but he has also converted his production factories in Italy for the exclusive production of medical overalls for healthcare workers. Recently he also announced that he moved his upcoming fashion show from Paris to Milan to help the local economy recover from the government’s actions.
And the good news is that there are many others like him who are aiming to help healthcare workers and the impoverished in this time of increasing scarcity.
I wanted to share the brands giving back during Covid with you, so that you too could make a difference by supporting these companies to help support those in need.
15 Brands Giving Back During Covid
What they’re doing: Reformation, one of the most glamorous brands giving back during Covid, are making masks for emergency care workers from scrap fabric.
Why we love them: Reformation is dedicated to creating ethical, sustainable fashion from biodegradable and/or upcycled materials. Their production processes are entirely transparent and can be found on their website. Their slit maxi-dresses have become iconic summer classics, that transform women into absolute goddesses!
What they’re doing: The online department store has partnered with one of America’s biggest hospital networks — Kaas Tailoered — to create masks for people working in hospitals, who need to change their masks daily, if not more frequently.
Why we love them: Nordstrom champions diversity, and has always embarked upon partnerships with companies owned by underrepresented groups to give a voice to everyone through fashion. For example, The Nordstrom Supplier Diversity Program has developed partnerships with businesses owned by African Americans, Asian American-Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native-Americans, women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, people with disabilities and veterans.
3. Amour Vert
What they’re doing: Amour Vert is selling sustainable masks, and for each sale the brand donates one to an essential worker in San Francisco.
Why we love them: Their sustainable practices address all aspects of their business operations and the full lifecycle of a garment. From the fibres and production processes used, how workers are treated, how products get to us, and whether garments can be recycled or not are all considerations Amour Vert takes very seriously.
We also love the fact that for every T-shirt you buy they plant a tree with American Forests. So far through this initiative, Amour Vert has managed to plant more than more than 280,000 trees in North America!
They’re also offering 15% discounts to all their customers during this Covid period.
What they’re doing: The CEO and co-founder of Birchbox, Katia Beauchamp, has decided to donate a whopping 45,000 beauty boxes to healthcare workers as a tribute to their incredible work.
Why we love them: For their support of female empowerment! Birchbox has created a partnership with the Female Founder Collective. This network, co-founded by vegan shoe designer Rebecca Minkoff, has the goal of bringing to the spotlight women-founded businesses and regularly host virtual live mentorship programs. Birchbox has been regularly curating some boxes with FFC to support their cause, too.
What they’re doing: Monda Operandi is supporting this health crisis by donating 15% of all of its profits to three organisations that are fighting Covid-19. These are Direct Relief — which helps health workers — BABY2BABY — which provides the bear necessities for kids to families in need — and A Common Thread — which supports the struggling American fashion community.
Why we love them: The great way ethical fashion and luxury coalesce here. The online clothing shop is adding increasing numbers of eco conscious brands to its offerings, including Cult Gaia, St Agni, Three Graces and more.
Rather than purchase items in bulk that may have to be sold off later (or worse, destroyed), due to lack of demand, they allow customers to pre-order goods instead, to reduce waste.
What they’re doing: Sephora is tributing healthcare workers by donating sixty-five thousand beauty packages to them as a means of saying ‘thank you’.
Why we love them: The Clean at Sephora range is ever-expanding its offerings of chemical free and organic brands, including Antonym, InnisFree, Kora Organics and many more. Plus, Sephora’s shopping bags are all made out of recycled materials.
What they’re doing: The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation has made a pledge to donate $600,000 to coronavirus relief efforts split across three charities: the NewYork-Presbyterian COVID-19 Patient Care Fund, Bring Change to Mind, and Girls Inc.
Why we love them: For how the buyers of the most famous department store in the USA are prioritising brands that have a sustainable approach to fashion, such as A.W.A.K.E. or Nanushka.
What they’re doing: They are involved through the THG group in providing a £10 million aid package to support vulnerable communities and emergency services in Manchester, the UK and international markets, too. This is one of my personal favourite brands giving back during Covid, as they’re focused on both families in need and healthcare workers.
Why we love them: LookFantastic is a great online destination for all kinds of beauty products. The shop offers a wide selection of sustainable and organic beauty brands including Drunk Elephant, Playa, John Masters and more, all of which benefit your skin, health and the planet.
What they’re doing: Everlane is donating all proceeds from its 100% Human Collection to the Feeding America CoronaVirus Response Fund, which helps give food to those in need.
Why we love them: This brand provides classic, slow fashion items that are meant to last for decades in your closet. They’re meant to fit all body shapes and sizes, and are produced from conscious materials in an ethical way.
In fact, Everlane’s motto is “Radical Transparency” which covers three main fields: working with ethical factories globally, sourcing fine materials and sharing the supply chain journey of every single item.
10. Uncommon Goods
What they’re doing: This platform is donating 100% of the sales from their kid’s masks to New York healthcare and hospitals.
Why we love them: Uncommon Goods champions handmade craftsmanship by all kinds of artisans, from potters to painters, from artisans to jewellery artists. These ‘goods’ are often made of sustainable materials, such as clay, recycled metals and bamboo, as you can see below.
11. Eileen Fisher
What they’re doing: The sustainable luxury fashion brand has partnered with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the Economic Development Corporation to create gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Why we love them: This brand is well known for using reclaimed and all-natural materials in the production of their slow-fashion creations. Eileen Fisher herself has also initiated the “Waste No More” program: a call to action to spread awareness on the impact the fashion world has on our planet.
12. 1 People
What they’re doing: Whilst many more fashion brands are letting people go during the Covid crisis, Danish based brand 1 People is helping alleviate poverty in Bali by not only keeping their staff paid and employed, but also by building a free entrepreneurial programme called Business for Planet, which aims to provide education, mentoring, initial funding and useful tools for small social impact entrepreneurs.
Why we love them: For their eco-friendly products that use raw materials that do not harm the planet. They are in line with the European Green Policy, to make sure that the entire production doesn’t not endanger the environment. They use fabrics made from recycled materials, such as ECONYL®, TENCELTM and Piñatex in all their garments.
13. Eco Gypsy
What they’re doing: The Bali based brand is paying all their workers, even though they’ve been forced to stop production, but they’re also raising funds for seriously impoverished families. Many of the poorest paid people have been forced to stop working in tourism on this popular holiday island. What that means is that the poor are now becoming desperately poor, with no means of income.
Why we love them: Eco Gypsy offers not only eco-luxury holidays in their sustainably made Eco Gypsy Villas, but also produce a line of handmade bikinis, bags and other artisan made goods that are constructed from natural fibres.
14. L SAHA
What they’re doing: Sustainable fashion brand L SAHA launched an art auction to support the frontline workers at Britain’s NHS (National Health Service). A series of five paintings were auctioned off on the brand’s website, raising a sizeable chunk of cash for the brave medics. The artworks were created by the brand’s Creative Director, Laboni Saha, while she was in lockdown in the UK.
Why we love them: The L SAHA brand runs on six pillars we totally support: Ethics, Sustainability, Timeless Designs, Unprecedented Craftsmanship, and Fairness (to people + the planet).
What they’re doing: This business specialises in making good use of food waste, and now they have paired up with ROAR and the Robin Hood Foundation to provide free meals to communities in the UK that have been economically affected by the government shutting down businesses during quarantine.
Why we love them: From its very conception ChocoMarket began with the intent of doing good, by helping restaurant suppliers fight food waste and sell directly to consumers. ChocoMarket delivers fresh, unsold food to your door, and as a customer, that means you’ll not only be getting rid of food that would normally go in the bin, but you’re helping to support local communities, too.
First two images: courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue