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Scanlan Theodore is repurposing its Fiji factory to make much-needed personal protective equipment

IMAGES VIA BROADSHEET AND SCANLAN THEODORE
WORDS BY ELLA BAZZANNI HOCKLEY

A creative solution to a worldwide problem.

Australian fashion label Scanlan Theodore announced via Instagram this week that it has repurposed its factory in Fiji to start manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE), namely gowns and masks, which hospitals here in Australia and around the world are in desperately short supply of. 

Other labels are also expressing an interest in pivoting to PPE production, especially if it means that their staff can be kept in work. NoBody Denim co-founder John Condilis has reached out to the Federal Government, offering to repurpose the denim brand’s Thornbury factory to produce up to 12,000 masks and 5000 surgical gowns each week.

The Australian fashion industry’s response follows in the footsteps of international brands like Zara, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Dior and Gucci. Spanish-owned Zara has already donated 10,000 masks and will send a further 300,000 across Spain in coming weeks.


Prada announced this week it would produce 110,000 masks in one week, while Gucci has pledged to make 1 million masks in the coming months. LVMH, which owns Dior, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, will make up to 40 million masks for French hospitals and has converted three of its perfume factories into hand sanitiser manufacturers. 

This redirection of resources follows a chaotic few months for the retail sector, with shops, factories and supply chains being completely shut down by the coronavirus crisis. Manufacturers are pleading with the government to put their workforce and factories back into production, but the increasingly strict stay-at-home regulations still apply to factory workers. 

While there isn’t a clear path forward for the fashion industry during this crisis, so many Australian labels are doing their bit for the nation’s most vulnerable workers, and we couldn’t be more proud. Watch this space. 

scanlantheodore.com

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