With stores closed, runway shows canceled and global supply chains disrupted, much of the fashion industry has been rendered idle by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, designers, luxury labels and fashion conglomerates are all stepping up to help overcome shortages of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in some of the hardest-hit countries.
In the US, where health officials have warned that stockpiles of medical equipment may be insufficient despite manufacturers ramping up production, some medical workers have been forced to reuse masks between patients and even make their own.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took his appeal for assistance in the country’s worst-hit state to Twitter, writing: “We need companies to be creative to supply the crucial gear our healthcare workers need.”
His call was answered with offers to retool production and put sewing teams and unused resources to good use.
One of the first to respond was designer and “Project Runway” alumni, Christian Siriano. “If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some,” he tweeted. “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.”
Just days after his online exchange with Cuomo, the designer posted a video of facemask production already underway.