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Luxury fashion group Kering S.A. — owners of Balenciaga, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta — has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by announcing it will be manufacturing surgical masks to aid the shortage in France, Bloomberg reports. The news follows the multi-million dollar donation it made in January.

In a statement released last night, Kering said the workshops of luxury houses Balenciaga and Saint Laurent are “preparing to manufacture masks while complying with the strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities.”

Ahead of the production of surgical masks, Kering SA also announced it will be donating 3 million surgical masks purchased and imported from China. Kering’s largest brand Gucci is also expected to donate 1.1 million surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in Italy over the next few weeks, subject to relevant authorizations.

This announcement follows last week’s news that rival group LVMH would also be repurposing its Givenchy and Dior cosmetics factories to produce and distribute free hand sanitizer to French hospitals and also pledging 40m surgical masks to French health authorities.

Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor