LVMH converts cosmetics facilities to produce hand sanitisers, Buro.'s friends in Europe weigh in

LVMH converts cosmetics facilities to produce hand sanitisers, Buro.'s friends in Europe weigh in

Faith in humanity restored

Text: Guan Tan

Image: LVMH hand sanitisers in Dior bottles by @lvmh

Did you manage to get some hand sanitisers –– and where are they from? From Aesop, Byredo, Dr. Bronner's, or Touchland? Were you surprised to find out that Sephora carried their very own hand sanitisers (well, my friends and I defo were!). From drugstores, pharmacies, to supermarkets, retail shelves were fully stocked with hand sanitisers aplently. Lucky us, we say, for abundance is not the case in other cities around the world.

If you've been avidly following hand sanitiser news, you'll know that a man and his brother were villainised in the American state of Tennessee for hoarding 17,700 bottles of sanitisers and reselling them at gouged prices for profit, essentially sweeping the state's medical supplies clean and stripping fellow citizens (who may be in dire medical need) of access to quotidian sterilisation and cleaning tools.

Over in Europe, hand sanitiser stockpiles were depleting rapidly for ingredients were running low. Gin distilleries are now making hand sanitisers. And then just a week ago, a blockbuster piece of news broke in the hand sanitisers department –– the French luxury conglomerate, LVMH, announced that they were converting their cosmetics facilities to produce hand sanitisers instead.

These sanitisers have since been sent to hospitals, free of charge, on a daily basis. News rippled rapidly throughout the global luxury community –– first, in awe and shock, and later, in gratitude. (Below, a hypebeast's spoof in response to LVMH's initiative to produce hand sanitisers.)

A spoof in response to LVMH's initiative to produce hand sanitisers.

Now that the medical institutions are getting their supply of sanitisers replenished by LVMH, what about the consumers? Are they able to get their personal stash of these essentials from local pharmacies and drugstores? Buro.'s friends in Europe weighs in on the situation and how they are coping:

Saffron Sharpe, 22, Student, London

"[Hand sanitisers] are sold out everywhere. There's no toilet paper and pasta too! I've got hand sanitisers at my dormitory –– lucky me! Coming back [to Singapore], staying safe!"

Justine Court, 27, Artist, Brussels

"There hasn't been stock for the last 3 weeks and you can't find any masks or disinfectants in Brussels."

Willy Jordan, 20, Student, Paris

"The only thing I could find was wet wipes for your butt."

Simone Nechama, 28, Fashion Consultant, Paris

"I talked to a lady in a shop about Corona, and she seemed super chill and said that everyone probably already has it so you can't do anything about it. I feel like that's the general attitude in Paris. But I don't know how it is now. I fear it has become a lot more serious overnight. I noticed that many shelves in the supermarket have become empty. The people working in supermarkets are wearing masks and gloves. It feels pretty serious now."

Although the general consensus amongst Parisians is that there will be sufficient hand sanitisers and sanitary supplies going around, Simone notes, "but people still hoard".

Benjamin Neal, 30, Dublin, Ireland

"People were stocking up at the grocery store that I visited yesterday, but nobody was going into hoarding mode. Most people were stocking up on cleaning supplies, but the nothing was noticeably depleted yet. At a nearby pharmacy, they've implemented a 3-shopper at a time maximum, but their stocks also seemed around normal levels."

Pedro Simões, 36, Flight Attendant, Lisbon and London

To LVMH's production of hand sanitisers, Lisbon and London-based flight attendant, Pedro, was in favour. "Very good! Not enough hand sanitisers to go around. Run out everywhere. We need more supplies in the EU".

Susana Coutinho, 38, Financial Analyst, London

"I thought it was great news as it is absolutely necessary that the hospitals are well equipped with hand sanitisers. But on the other hand consumers don't have enough as it is sold out in most stores. I couldn't find any, myself after searching in the past week."

Stay safe, friends!