Kering-owned luxury fashion labels Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent are preparing to manufacture surgical masks in their French workshops as part of efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in France.

Production will get underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities, the company says.

The move comes as the luxury goods group says it is also purchasing and importing 3m surgical masks from China for the French health service.

And Kering’s Gucci label has responded to a call from Tuscany, and could donate 1.1m surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls in the coming weeks, subject to relevant authorisations. 

Meanwhile, the group has made a financial donation to the Institut Pasteur in Paris to support its research into Covid-19, following similar contributions made in China and Italy in recent weeks.

Kering’s efforts follow similar steps taken elsewhere to address increasing shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the pandemic and constrained supply.

Swedish fashion retailer H&M Group is mobilising its supply chain to produce PPE to be delivered to hospitals and health care workers, while in the US, a coalition of apparel and textile firms has joined forces to build a supply chain to fast-track the manufacturing of medical face masks.