One of England’s most revered shirtmakers is putting its skills to use creating much-needed supplies for healthcare workers.
Turnbull & Asser––the shirtmaker to royalty and those with equally deep pockets––has dedicated its Gloucester workroom to making scrubs for National Health Services personnel battling Covid-19 on the frontlines. England, like many other nations dealing with the health crisis, has begun running dangerously low on essential equipment. Turnbull & Asser is striving to meet the demand by manufacturing 4,000 medical-grade scrubs in its first run.
“We believe compassion is key to overcoming this historic hurdle, and we hope all employees of the National Health Service are able to feel truly appreciated for all their hard work,” said Turnbull & Asser’s managing director, Jonathan Baker, in a statement. “In turning our hand to the production of scrubs, we hope to do our bit in expressing that gratitude.”
Like most other non-essential businesses, Turnbull & Asser temporarily closed its shops and production facilities as the coronavirus pandemic grew worse. However, the company chose to answer the call as shortages for healthcare basics became more severe. It reconfigured its Gloucester studio to accommodate social distancing guidelines and equipped the workroom with new machines specifically to make the desired scrubs. Now, a dedicated team of workers donning protective equipment is fast at work.
Turnbull & Asser isn’t the only fashion firm making protective gear and masks: on Wednesday, the same day the British firm made its announcement, Louis Vuitton released a statement saying that it would re-purpose its French workshops to make non-surgical masks. The move was inspired by volunteers at one of these four locations who were already making and donating these masks to frontline healthcare workers.
Ralph Lauren also announced on Wednesday that part of its supply chain has begun producing 250,000 machine washable masks and 50,000 isolation gowns. These firms follow Zegna, whose facilities in Italy and Switzerland are also making masks and protective hospital suits, and Brooks Brothers, which is now producing up to 150,000 masks and gowns per day in its factories in North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts, both announced in late March.
The firm has a history of stepping up during uncertain times. During World War I, Turnbull & Asser produced innovative garments for troops and others on the frontlines. This latest effort is only one portion of a multi-pronged approach it intends to roll out in support of the NHS and other essentials workers.