Louis Vuitton owner LVMH to start making hand sanitizer for French Health Authorities

LVMH commits to providing hydro-alcoholic gel to the French health authorities for free

Louis Vuitton owner LVMH to start making hand sanitizer for French Health Authorities

The fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton owner LVMH announced on 15 March 2020 that it would direct its perfume and makeup factories to make hand sanitizer from the hydro alcoholic gel, to provide to French health professionals, particularly the 39 public hospitals in Paris, to combat the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

That means the three factories that produce perfumes and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Guerlain will now make their version of sanitizers, to prevent a lack of the bacteria-fighting gels in the market. In other countries, including the U.S, hand sanitizer is not only hard to come by, considering the onset of the virus in Europe and further to the west, but several people have also bought the stuff in bulk to resell it at a significant profit. (One American, now under probe for price-gouging, has provided his stock of 17,700 bottles to a church in Tennessee, where he lives, to the public to fight against Corona Virus.)

COVID-19 has produced a surreal situation for fashion businesses, which are caught between the need to keep calm and carry on, and to direct energy to provide relief during the crisis. Several brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, have made significant donations to organizations dedicated to the fight against COVID-19. Still, LVMH Moët Hennessy decision outlines a third way, by redirecting its important resources toward creating a product that immediately fights the virus. The shift also raises another question that can the fashion brands dedicate their factories to produce sanitizers, surgical gowns, masks, and other emergency health-care products in a few weeks.

There is a renowned history, especially in western Europe, of fashion companies joining forces with their respective governments to produce products in times of emergency and disaster. 

During World War II, civilians in the U.K and France dealt with general clothing rations as materials and manufacturers were focused on making wartime supplies and outfits.

Designers exhibited an extraordinary amount of ingenuity under severity measures that went so far as to designate the number of pockets and buttons authorized on a garment. One handbag manufacturer even created a civilian respirator that the British were asked to carry during the Blitz, in the form of a leather bag. The virus presents tremendous challenges for the fashion business. Still, as LVMH Moët Hennessy hand-gel effort shows, this is also a moment for the company to apply high ingenuity in the way they use the skill, talent, and materials at their fingertips. Several companies, from Marine Serre to Bape, already have the patterns for masks, perhaps their affinity for apocalyptic accessories can be put to beneficial use in the weeks to come.