Brands such as Nike, Gap are making masks for health care workers
As consumers stock up on everyday necessities and pull back on discretionary purchases, more and more brands that sell non-essential items are pivoting to mask making during the coronavirus health crisis. On Wednesday, clothiers Gap and Eddie Bauer announced they will be putting their factory resources to work making masks and other protective materials for health care workers dealing with severe shortages during the pandemic.
Similarly, Nike said on its earnings call Wednesday that it is also focusing on how it can help doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.
“Our teams in innovation and manufacturing are exploring designs for personal protective equipment,” said John Donahue, who was appointed CEO of Nike late last year, on the call. “Based on needs identified by the teams and health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University, our teammates are working right now about how to best help, including prototyping face shields of OHSU and others.”
Gap, along with sister brands Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic, is using its production pipeline to manufacture masks, gowns and scrubs. It’s also using excess garments to produce more fabric masks. Gap tweeted the news on Wednesday.
Eddie Bauer says it is creating N95 and surgical masks as well—the Bellevue, Washington-based retailer plans to donate such items to the State of Washington next week.
The retailers join designers such as Christian Siriano and Dov Charney, of American Apparel fame, who last week said they would also be creating health care masks. Siriano said Wednesday he has already created 1,000 masks. High-end luxury brands Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent have also volunteered their resources. As consumers braced for the virus, many have hoarded supplies like face masks that are crucial to health care workers, resulting in a mass shortage that is threatening the ability of such workers to perform their duties and not get sick themselves.