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Chanel, Celine and More Rally to Support French Healthcare Workers in One-Off Auction

La Mode S’Engage is fashion’s latest effort in combating the coronavirus crisis.
La Mode S'Engage | Source: Courtesy
  • Daphne Milner

PARIS, France — The French fashion industry's biggest and emerging names have come together for a one-off fashion auction, to raise money for non-profit organisation #ProtegeTonSoignant, which sources and distributes supplies to French healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

La Mode S'Engage, spearheaded by Ami Chief Executive Nicolas Santi-Weil and Colette and Just An Idea Founder Sarah Andelman, has so far confirmed the participation of more than 80 brands, including Chanel, Celine, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Imane Ayissi and Rabih Kayrouz.

Each designer will be tasked with either customising an item from their archive or designing a new garment from scratch for the auction. The submissions must include a reference to the signature electric blue colour of #ProtegeTonSoignant. The garments will then sell to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to French hospitals and healthcare workers through the non-profit organisation. Designers who are confined to their homes without access to necessary studio equipment will be able to submit sketches of designs or offer made-to-order services via the auction.

#ProtegeTonSoignant, which launched five weeks ago and has since raised over €5 million, tapped Santi-Weil and Andelman to organise La Mode S'Engage, with support from the Fédération de la haute couture et de la Mode and the French Fashion Institute.

“The goal is to raise as much money as possible,” Santi-Weil told BoF. “We want to be a helping hand… to the work of the state.”

Auction prices for all items will start at €100. While some designers are offering full looks, others are auctioning a customised item.

La Mode S’Engage’s site is set to go live on Friday, May 1, at 12.00pm CET with the auction finishing on Monday, May 4, at 11.59pm local time.

#ProtegeTonSoignant is currently sitting on 167 requests for medical supplies worth about €20 million.

The organisation has been breaking down and posting all its donations on #ProtegeTonSoignant’s Instagram page every day; on Thursday April 23, for example, it said to have donated €476.392 worth of masks, medical scrubs and syringes. “Everyone is in a bad [financial] situation right now, and asking people to give money to something that normally is in their taxes, it’s not normal,” Sarah Jonathan, founder of #ProtegeTonSoignant, said, adding that transparency is core to the organisation’s values.

La Mode S'Engage is one of many attempts by the fashion industry to support stretched healthcare systems over the world.

Gucci has donated €2 million to start two public fundraising campaigns to benefit the National Civil Protection Department in Italy and the World Health Organisation's Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, while Chiara Ferragni raised almost $4 million for the San Raffaele hospital in Milan through an online fundraising campaign. Fashion players, including LVMH and Kering, have also pivoted their manufacturing hubs to produce essential medical equipment for hospital workers.

The Emergency Designer Network, fronted by designers Bethany Williams, Holly Fulton and Phoebe English, is likewise supporting Britain's National Health Service by creating much-needed personal protective equipment with the help of small-scale manufacturers and design studio resources.

We’re tracking the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global fashion business. Visit our live blog for everything you need to know.

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