Louis Vuitton ditches high end fashion for face masks

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**

Broadcasters: NO RESALES / MUST ON-SCREEN COURTESY LOUIS VUITTON Digital: NO RESALES / MUST ON-SCREEN COURTESY LOUIS VUITTON.~

Famed luxury brand Louis Vuitton has stopped making its highly-coveted bags at factories throughout France… It’s making face masks instead.

France is facing a shortage in protective gear for medical workers, forcing it to order more than one billion face masks from overseas, mostly from China.

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged French companies like Louis Vuitton to step up and pitch in to fill the gap..

During a tour of the mask-making operation at this location in Sainte-Florence in western France, CEO Michael Burke noticed how things have changed on his factory floor and beyond.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) LOUIS VUITTON CEO, MICHAEL BURKE, SAYING:"It's the first time I'm seeing a workshop without noise, without any background noise. When we get here in the morning, the first thing we sense is the noise of sewing machines."

Louis Vuitton has dedicated 300 artisans across five factory floors with a goal of producing hundreds of thousands of the much-needed face masks.

It's not alone. Companies all across Europe and the U.S. have re-jigged manufacturing operations to make everything from face masks to hand sanitizer to ventilators.

Louis Vuitton is reserving its sense of style for when it resumes making its iconic bags - - these face masks only come in white and without the globally recognizable LV logo.

Video Transcript

- Famed luxury brand Louis Vuitton has stopped making its highly-coveted bags at factories throughout France. It's making face masks instead. France is facing a shortage in protective gear for medical workers, forcing it to order more than one billion face masks from overseas, mostly from China.

French president Emmanuel Macron has urged French companies like Louis Vuitton to step up and pitch in to fill the gap. During a tour of the mask making operation at this location in Saint Florence, in Western France, CEO Michael Burke noticed how things have changed on his factory floor and beyond.

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: It's the first time I'm seeing a workshop without noise-- without any background noise. When we get here in the morning, the first thing we sense is the noise of sewing machines.

- Louis Vuitton has dedicated 300 artisans across five factory floors with a goal of producing hundreds of thousands of the much-needed face masks. It's not alone. Companies all across Europe and the US have re-jigged manufacturing operations to make everything from face masks, to hand sanitizer, to ventilators.

Louis Vuitton is reserving its sense of style for when it resumes making its iconic bags. These face masks only come in white and without the globally recognizable LV logo.