Undercover

 
 

From necessity to luxury: The evolution of face coverings during COVID-19 

Charity

 
 
 
Great British Designer Face Coverings, June 2020

Great British Designer Face Coverings, June 2020 

 
 

As the pandemic unfolded at the start of 2020, many countries experienced extreme strain on their healthcare systems and associated supply chains. Having been hit first within Europe, Italy responded by numerous fashion manufacturers converting their production to produce Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), including disposable gowns and face masks.  

 

As COVID-19 spread across Europe in early April, several fashion brands in England shifted production to assist with the procurement and manufacture of PPE scrubs and masks. Within the UK, these companies included Burberry, Barbour, Turnbull & Asser, Sunspel and Private White V.C.


Simultaneously, companies began to produce non-PPE face masks for the public to purchase, with some using the opportunity to either raise money for charity through the sale of masks or to donate a set amount to a specific charity. By the end of 2020, as face coverings had become an everyday purchase, most companies (with a few notable exceptions) had stopped raising money for charity, even if they continued to sell face coverings.

Paul & Shark

 
 
 
Paul & Shark swing tag, May 2020vv
Paul & Shark swing tag, May 2020

RAINBOW OF HOPE SWING TAGS

Paul & Shark

March 2020

During Italy's first lockdown in March 2020, Paul & Shark converted their Varese production plant to produce disposable gowns, which were distributed to hospitals across the country. They also began producing civilian-use reusable face masks in a variety of colours. This initiative was called Rainbow of Hope, and these masks were distributed online with customers receiving two complimentary masks with each purchase. 

 

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C.P. Company

 
 
 
C.P. Company social mask leaflet, May 2020

SOCIAL MASK LEAFLET

C.P. Company

May 2020

As COVID-19 arrived in Italy in early 2020, C.P. Company's parent company, Tristate, donated thousands of medical-grade masks to Lombardy's health workers. By May, C.P. Company had developed a face covering aimed at its customers, with the proceeds from the sale of these masks going to MSF - Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).

 

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Great British Designer Face Coverings

 
 
 
Great British Designer Face Coverings, June 2020

GREAT BRITISH FACE COVERINGS

Bags of Ethics

June 2020

These face coverings, created by Bags of Ethics on behalf of the British Fashion Council, were sold to benefit the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, and the Wings of Hope Children's Charity. The BFC announced in December 2020 that they had resulted in a £500,000 donation to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund.

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Liberty London

 
 
 
Liberty London face covering information sheet, June 2020

TANA LAWN COTTON FACE COVERINGS LEAFLET
Liberty London

June 2020

Available to buy from June 2020, Liberty London announced that for each set of face coverings sold, they would donate one to charity. By 20 October 2020, they had donated over 8500 masks to various organisations, including care homes and charities supporting the homeless in London.

Archive no. 2020.100.35.3

Turnbull & Asser

 
 
 
Turnbull & Asser Commuter mask leaflet, July 2020
Turnbull & Asser Commuter mask leaflet, July 2020

COMMUTE MASK LEAFLET

Turnbull & Asser

July 2020

In April 2020, British shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser switched their production in their Gloucester workrooms from constructing luxury shirts to making medical-grade PPE for the NHS. They began producing face masks for their customers in July 2020. They donated £5 to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal for each mask sold in the UK.

 

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Great British Designer Face Coverings 2

 
 
 
Great British Designer Face Coverings, December 2020

GREAT BRITISH FACE COVERINGS

Bags of Ethics

December 2020

A second edition of the GBD face coverings was released in December 2020, featuring a range of British and American designers.  For every pack sold, £1 was donated to the British fashion Council's Foundation Fashion Fund and £1 to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity programming.

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