Beginning today, Neiman Marcus Group’s alterations facilities are receiving product from Jo-Ann to start creating personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and scrubs for use by health-care providers. Jo-Ann is shipping fabric and materials recommended for medical settings, although the products are not medical grade. Employees in NMG’s alterations facilities will follow recommended social-distancing guidelines while creating the products.
“The partnership between Neiman Marcus Group and Jo-Ann was created to help fill part of the immediate need of materials for medical personnel,” NMG said in a release. “Both companies have stepped up to this global and national crisis in support of those who are holding the front line of this pandemic. Any company that has the ability to manufacture medical materials should manufacture right now.”
The first batch of PPE is expected to be sent out this week, and the two companies will be paying for shipping and delivery themselves.
In addition to its partnership with Neiman Marcus, Jo-Ann is offering free kits to customers who want to make face masks. The retailer is giving away supplies including fabric, elastic and other materials; customers are instructed to drop off completed masks at their local stores, which serve as collection points.
As hospitals and medical facilities grapple with short supplies of PPE, numerous fashion players have offered to convert their supply chains, ateliers and factories to help meet demand. Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell and Prabal Gurung are among the New York-based designers who are now making medical supplies. In Europe, luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering have both pledged to contribute millions of masks, shipped from China, to aid in France’s relief efforts. Kering’s Balenciaga and Saint Laurent workshops will begin making masks after they receive approval from the relevant authorities.
Internationally, there have been more than 436,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins data. The virus has so far killed over 19,600 people.