NEW YORK, N.Y. – Fashion designers are stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic and turning their attention to producing face masks for healthcare workers on the frontlines.
Christian Siriano is among them. The former “Project Runway” winner and current mentor on the TV show is halting his clothing production. Instead, his line is producing face masks and other health care materials amid the shortages.
On his website, Siriano says he’s making the products with cooperation and encouragement of Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, the state that has become the COVID-19 epicenter in the U.S.
Last week, Cuomo said New York has a critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and gloves. He called on those who have the supplies or can make them to help with the crisis. Siriano answered that call.
“Our team has extensive experience manufacturing fabric goods, and we have secured approval and instruction to produce much-needed items during this crisis,” said Siriano in a statement.
Siriano is accepting donations to help in the company’s efforts. He says 100% of donations go toward the cleaning and frequent sterilization of workers' spaces and facilities, providing safe and private travel accommodations for workers around New York City, and costs of production materials.
In France, the parent company of Balenciaga, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, The Kering Group, says the luxury fashion houses will soon begin manufacturing masks once the materials are approved by the relevant authorities.
Kering says it will also be providing France’s health service with 3 million surgical masks, which the group will purchase and import from China. The company has already made donations to hospitals in Italy, the country with the highest death toll from the virus so far.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t recommend that people who are well wear face masks to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19. Public health officials say the public should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
“A face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected,” said the CDC on its website.
The use of face masks is also crucial for healthcare workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings, like at home or in a healthcare facility.
Click here to learn more about COVID-19 and how you can help slow the spread of the virus.