Personally, with all the reoccurring hurdles- mentally, physically and financially- that have occurred due to this pandemic livelihood, I’ve moulded a somewhat rather cynical outlook on the continued culture of capitalisation exemplified through fashion houses. Whilst a large sum of the population, especially so in the UK have lost lives and love ones, as well as their employment, I can’t help but believe this to prove rather insensitive to all who have immensely lost out due to Covid-19. It is this very reason why I believe the work and efforts generated by luxury American fashion company Ralph Lauren are that much more inspiring.
In a Harper’s Bazaar article, it's reported that Ralph Lauren donated a whopping $10 million to help battle the coronavirus, as well as making a generous donation the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London. The support offered to vulnerable patients, who are already battling cancer, has without a doubt massively aided a large sum of already life threatened patients. The Ralph Lauren company already withholds a long-standing relationship with the Royal Marsden, and with their new donation have provided the means necessary to fund a special machine to test for Covid-19. This thereby will reduce staff shortages in cancer facilities and the need for medical staff to partake in unnecessary isolation for staff who have not tested positive, further enabling cancer patients to get the vital treatment necessary – benefiting both staff and patients.
As well as this, Ralph has also released a more affordable high-end face covering, encouraging people to take the action to protect themselves and others, without the extortionate price tag. The reusable masks prove both stylish and affordable, as well as sustainable in a world burdened with a climate crisis, reducing levels of waste in comparison to those using surgical masks. Though some may argue their retail price of £25 per mask still proves rather steep, I would argue that it is miles an improvement than the likes of luxury brand Fendi, who believe it acceptable to retail a face covering at an exorbitant £430. Despite the Carla Fendi Foundation’s generous donation to intensive care department of the Presidio Sanitario Columbus hospital in Rome, to publicly donate a fairly large sum, surely at mask prices that high, they are in many ways taking advantage of the pandemic climate. Though I can appreciate the encouragement of accessorising this vital face covering, the mass gross profit they most likely are gaining by capitalising off these products proves contradictory. It begs the question as to the intentions behind the brand's actions. It’s not difficult to see this potentially as a marketing strategy, which undoubtedly given the circumstances doesn’t sit well with many.
Perhaps many luxury fashion brands should take heed from Ralph Lauren’s actions, and contribute towards making a difference, rather than take advantage of what already is for so many, a really difficult time.
Featured image: @ralphlauren