We’ve celebrated, before now, the gusto with which the luxury realm is reacting to Covid-19 – and we’re delighted to report that a snowball effect seems to be taking place. The healthcare sector is the worthy recipient of many of the latest efforts: Bentley is now supplying face shields to 95 care homes across Cheshire, Oris has pledged 50 watches to men and women fighting Covid-19 on the front line and Burberry, Mulberry and Turnbull & Asser are all manufacturing invaluable PPE equipment. (And, it’s not just the big hitters getting in on the act: French accessories label, Le Colonel is busily making stylish and highly effective protective masks from their apartment factory in Lille.)
Haute tailoring house Thom Sweeney founders Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney, meanwhile – having launched a new e-commerce website to showcase their Spring/Summer 2020 ready-to-wear collection (below, and main picture) – have pledged 10 per cent of all e-commerce sales to support COVID-19 relief.
The revenue raised will be allocated to Heroes, a new British charity that has been established to support the welfare of NHS staff as they fight COVID-19, as well as funding the purchase and delivery of PPC equipment, the 3D printing of masks and visors and the support of restaurants and caterers which deliver meals for hospital staff. In the brand’s second home across The Pond, Thom Sweeney will be donating to the New York City Mayor’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which is providing resources and support to healthcare workers, small businesses, displaced hourly workers and the city’s most vulnerable citizens.
Stepping up to the plate in various ways, meanwhile, is Rémy-Cointreau Group, whose brand portfolio includes Louis XIII Cognac. The group’s Bruichladdich distillery on the Island of Islay, in Scotland, has joined forces with a local soap manufacturer to make hand sanitiser and distribute it directly to the hospital and doctors on the island; the Cognac production sites of Rémy Martin and Louis XIII, as well as those in Angers (Cointreau) and Triève (Distillery of the Domaine des Hautes Glaces), meanwhile, are donating neutral alcohol to local health organisations; and its distillery in Westland, Seattle is producing hand sanitiser for several social and medical establishments of Washington State, which is one of those most adversely affected by the virus. Back home, Chivas Brothers and Molton Brown are also turning their expertise to the much-needed production of hand sanitiser and cream.
On the aviation front, with International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating that global air cargo is oversubscribed by 30, Vimana Private Jets has plans underway to apply its fleet of luxury aircraft to transporting 1,000 tonnes of medical equipment (including face masks, PPE and medicines) to countries where hospitals lack the critical means to treat COVID-19 patients. The plan is the latest altruistic mission from a company – whose clients include celebrities, governments, UHNWs, heads of state and corporations – which in the past has dispatched aircraft to natural disaster and war zones to transport medical and security staff to help with effort on the ground
“We got involved when government officials who use our services asked if we could help,” explains Ameerh Naran, Founder and CEO of Vimana . “Although shipments of many manufactured and high-tech goods have dried up as the global economy stalls, carriers are experiencing hyper-demand to move medical supplies, protective equipment, foodstuffs and e-commerce shipments as people sheltering at home use only delivery services. Our long-standing relationships with Civil Aviation Authorities and airports have been especially useful in getting things moving quickly.
Elsewhere Jetfly is currently making its fleet of 40 aircraft available free of charge to transport doctors, nurses and medical equipment, while Air Charter Service (ACS) has arranged more than 50 charter flights to transport over 3,500 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to several US states.
Moving to domestic hospitality, Claridge’s Hotel is offering free accommodation to key workers from St Mary’s Hospital Paddington (as well as providing dinner, breakfast and over 500 daily packed meals via Meal Force), while The Luxury Spa Edit has teamed up with some of the UK’s most indulgent hotels to launch Wellness For Heroes, which gives NHS staff and key workers the chance to win a much deserved relaxing spa break in one of the partner hotels or a hamper of luxury beauty products.
Elsewhere, Cliveden House, The Lygon Arms and Chewton Glen are donating Twilight Spa Vouchers to local NHS heroes, while the latter has partnered with a local not-for-profit organisation, The Empty Bowls Project, donating produce from its on-site organic farm. Rather than the produce going to waste while the property is closed, the property’s Estate Manager Darren Venables is harvesting Chewton’s organic crops and the produce is feeding those in need.
“It’s fantastic to see so many of our members coming together to support the critical services, key workers and our vulnerable communities at a time of true hardship,” says Helen Brocklebank, Chief Executive of Walpole, the official sector body for British luxury, many of whose members’ efforts are alluded to above. “It shows the true spirit and resilience of our nation, it is part of our DNA to stand together in a time of adversity.”