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There's been a lot of news surrounding mask, gown, and supplies shortages for first responders and other medical and healthcare professionals amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Luckily, these Project Runway contestants from Season 18 are doing everything they can to help with the situation.
Several designers have been hard at work making masks for those who need them. They've have taken on a task where every little bit of assistance counts. Although they are working individually, their combined efforts will contribute to the cause immensely.
After spending over a week making masks, Brittany Allen posted a photo of her injured hand in front of her sewing machine. She captioned the photo, "Day 8. So many masks I've cut and made, but still over 1,000 to go. I've given myself blisters — worth it if I can provide exhausted supplies. It's just me, so be patient if you haven't gotten yours yet. I'm waiting on more elastic to get here next week."
Sergio Guadarrama told us, "I wanted to be able to help in whatever way I possibly could, being stuck in NYC and hearing the constant sounds of sirens fuels me to create as many as I can. My company has been fortunate enough to join forces with a team of designers here in the city called Sew4Lives, where we have helped create masks for free, for hospitals to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."
He added, "I am a small business and it's us small businesses who are doing what we can to help make the impact on this change. We have come together to make around a thousand masks. We have fortunately been donated fabric by Supima cotton, and had the help of FIT to do what we can to continue to make the changes we need to make to do our part to help. I feel it's important for us to join hand and hand to help each other and encourage each other through difficult times like these."
Nancy Volpe-Beringer explained, "My personal goal to be a relevant designer in using my fashion to give back to the community has never been more tested since the onset of COVID-19. I feel blessed that I am able to use my Project Runway platform and my skills and materials to respond to the need to provide protective face masks for those on the front line. What started as an immediate response to a post in our Season 18 Project Runway chat room, has led me to become part of a massive Philadelphia initiative, CoverAidPHL, to provide thousands of protective face masks to healthcare professionals.
The contestant gushed about her colleagues, saying, "I am so honored to be part of the Project Runway family as I see the powerful impact and immense response by Project Runway designers throughout the country. The power of social media has never been stronger or more important. Through our Project Runway platform, we have been [able] to share our knowledge and spread the word for the need to sew essential protective face masks for those on the front lines."
The Season 18 finalist added, "The power of kindness and compassion is shining though as Project Runway designers are taking on a leadership role in their hometowns and cities and inspiring others to join the nationwide effort to provide protective face masks to the courageous health care professionals."
Dayoung Kim shared, "I always wondered what I would be able to do in times of crisis like this, even though creating fashion, even though creating fashion is an amazing job, since my skill and talent are not like saving people's life nor for actual survival. However, I'm very grateful that I can contribute my humble skills to help the community. Fortunately, my brand, Moirai's, essential item is cotton woven shirts, so I already had sufficient amount of high density cotton fabric in my possession, thus I could jump into making masks right away when there was a call of needing masks from the state of Oregon, where I live currently. It's a hard time for everybody, but I try to do what I can quietly and consciously at my position, hoping we stand by each other and go through this time together."
Delvin McCray expressed, "Yes, we currently are making masks and donating to local hospitals in the Chicagoland area with donated supplies until they run out. Afterwards we will shift to selling masks online to continue to raise the funds to continue supporting the medical teams on the front lines."
Alan Gonzalez has started making fashionable masks for the general public to support his hometown community. He is selling these masks on Alantude.com and 100% of proceeds will go to Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit that provides home-delivered meals to disabled adults over 60 in the Houston and Galveston areas.
Veronica Sheaffer has been providing masks to individual healthcare workers, high-risk individuals with cancer and autoimmune disorders, and just dropped a batch this week for residents at a local VA hospital. She has been doing this rather quietly in an effort to help those in need in her Chicago community.
Tyler Neasloney told us, "I still work full-time for the Ali Forney Center — we cannot close during the COVID-19 pandemic — but I've been using some of my down time in quarantine to quietly create masks over the past few weeks. It took a few days to source a bulk delivery of more elastic, but now I'm in production on my next run of masks, going to the 160+ homeless LGBTQ young people living AFC's 18 housing sites throughout NYC."
He added, "My full-time job has not stopped (I've worked on the development team at AFC for going on four years) and I've found myself sewing on conference calls and in between virtual meetings to get the masks to our young people quickly. The homeless population is more vulnerable now than ever, and these precautionary masks will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the close quarters that are the only safe spaces these young people have left during this chaotic and scary time."
Geoffrey Mac explained, "Here at Geoffrey Mac we are doing all we can to help in these times. We are sewing and donating masks as well as doing a tutorial video and PSA for NY state and the NY mayor's office. If you live in the NY area and can participate, please contact the link www.ny.gov/covid19supplies. I am mourning the loss of my former lover and best friend and doing all I can to stay connected to the community and bring love to people in these times of need."
Jenn Charkow said, "After hearing that people were needed to make PPE, I joined Crafters Against COVID-19 Seattle on Facebook. The group has made about 10,000 masks for the Seattle/Puget Sound area. I felt like being a part of this group of amazing humans was the right thing for me to do and the way that I could help during the crisis."
Asma Bibi told us, "Philadelphia Fashion incubator has partnered with CoverAid PHL to make Fabric Mask v1. They have supplied instruction packets to cut from specified material, using our pattern, with various instructions to be delivered to local healthcare organizations in need."
These designers aren't the only ones in the Project Runway family contributing to the cause. Christian Siriano is also making masks from his studio and Brandon Maxwell is currently creating protective gear for doctors.
For the latest, most accurate information on coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
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