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Designer brand Ralph Lauren to make masks and gowns

Model Taylor Marie Hill is seen leaving Ralph Lauren Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Image copyright Getty Images

Ralph Lauren is to start making medical masks and gowns - the latest designer brand to lend its support to the coronavirus fight.

The fashioner designer announced the shift in production through its charitable arm on Thursday.

The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation will start making 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns in the US.

Other fashion brands have also pledged to help make urgently needed medical wear.

The foundation is also donating $10m (£8.2m) towards the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the US the death toll has now risen above 1,000.

"At the heart of our company, there has always been a spirit of togetherness that inspires our creativity, our confidence and most importantly our support for one another. In the past weeks and months, that spirit has never wavered," said Ralph Lauren, executive chairman of the fashion brand.

Other well-known retailers are also shifting production lines to manufacture face masks and gowns, while carmakers are looking at how they can help make ventilators.

Luxury coat brand Canada Goose said it would begin making gowns to be donated to healthcare workers. The production will start at two of its previously closed Canadian manufacturing facilities next week, with the initial goal of producing scrubs and gowns.

"Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the frontlines of Covid-19 in healthcare facilities, and they need help. Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good," said Dani Reiss, chief executive of Canada Goose.

San Francisco-based Gap said it would also use its factories to make protective gear while using its connections in the global supply chain to get protective masks and gowns.

Earlier this month, LVMH, which owns the Louis Vuitton brand, said it would start making hand sanitiser in France.

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