Neiman Marcus and JOANN Stores are stepping up the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) by partnering to begin producing nonsurgical personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and scrubs for front-line health care providers.
Neiman Marcus will receive materials from JOANN and will create the products within its alterations facilities in California, New Jersey and Florida. While these materials are not medical grade, JOANN has secured patterns and templates and is shipping fabric and materials recommended for medical settings, following guidelines provided by the Providence Hospital System in Washington State.
The first shipment of materials is expected to be sent to health care providers this week. Neiman Marcus and JOANN will be covering the cost of shipping and delivery. The retailers will produce these materials as long as there is a need and are poised to create “many thousands” of essential items, according to a company statement.
Earlier this week, JOANN opened classrooms at its stores across the country for people who are volunteering to make masks, gowns and other items to be donated to hospitals. The retailer is providing and donating 100% of the supplies for the project and is offering sewing machines and guidance. The classrooms will adhere to social distancing guidelines, with associates available to sanitize work areas.
More Retailers, Brands Leverage Their Own Resources To Combat COVID-19
These efforts reflect the growing urgency of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. and pressure on both the private sector and federal and state governments to help stem it.
Earlier this week, Parkdale, the largest yarn spinner in the U.S., formed a coalition with Hanesbrands, Fruit of the Loom and six other apparel and textile brands to set up a manufacturing supply chain and begin ramping up production of medical facemasks. American Giant, Los Angeles Apparel, AST Sportswear, Sanmar, America Knits, Beverly Knits and Riegel Linen are also part of the coalition.
The first facemasks have been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Within four to five weeks, the companies expect to produce up to 10 million masks per week in the U.S. and in Central America.
Gap, Canada Goose and Zara have pledged to manufacture medical gear for frontline health care workers as well. Gap is pivoting resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns and scrubs, and is connecting some of the largest hospital networks in California with its vendors to deliver the PPE supplies. Canada Goose will produce 10,000 scrubs and gowns for workers and patients across Canada at two of its manufacturing facilities and distribute them to hospitals next week. Zara will make its factories and logistics teams available to the Spanish government in order to donate much-needed masks for patients and medical workers alike. The company already has donated 10,000 masks and expects to manufacture 300,000 more.
Most recently, Ralph Lauren confirmed it is working on making 25,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 masks with its U.S. manufacturing partners and is donating $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts.
The mobilization comes as other retail companies innovate on ways to combat COVID-19. LVMH is prepping its perfume and cosmetics factories to manufacture free hand sanitizer for France amid shortages. The luxury conglomerate is distributing the sanitizers to French health authorities.
L’Oréal also is producing hand sanitizer in its factories, with one of its brands La Roche-Posay providing hydro-alcoholic gel to hospitals, nursing homes and main partnering pharmacies throughout Europe. The beauty giant’s Garnier brand will dispense millions of units of the gel to all of its European clients in the food distribution channel.