As the coronavirus spreads across the country, leading design and luxury companies are shifting production to make personal protective equipment and other supplies for healthcare workers and others in need.
Textile factories have been converted into make-shift medical manufacturing hubs with hundreds of talented stitchers creating masks, linens, and gowns to combat the national shortage. And while many companies recognize that they are not equipped to produce the FDA-approved N95 masks, that hasn't stopped them from creating and donating protective pieces to help ease the burden on the frontline fighters.
Below is a list of who's doing what and where. We'll keep updating the list with new announcements from your favorite brands about the actions they're taking.
As the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases began to rapidly to increase, the staff at Matouk set up a task force to address concerns across the company and brainstorm how they could help members of their community.
“After reading reports about medical shortages and temporary hospitals being set up, our immediate response was to provide sheeting and towels to them, but then we realized these people needed so much more than that,” explains Mindy Matouk, creative director of Matouk. “As the need for sanitary face masks and other personal protective equipment quickly escalated to a crisis, we realized that we could shift our manufacturing to supply those as well.”
The brand pivoted production at their factory in Fall River, Massachusetts, from bedding to masks. Within the last week, Matouk shipped their first batch of masks to Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC. The brand expects to produce 2,000 masks a day moving forward.
The New Traditionalists and ducduc
At their shared factory in Torrington, Connecticut, furniture company The New Traditionalists and children’s furniture brand ducduc are starting to produce a range of supplies including gowns, masks, beds, partitions/dividers, rolling bins, carts, and daycare furniture.
Each product is made with antimicrobial laminates approved by medical facilities.“These veneers have the ability to withstand the cleaning agents in line with the CDC's guidelines to guard against COVID-19,” Philip Erdoes, explains CEO and founder of both companies.
Erdoes urges any local Torrington health or daycare facility to reach out to email@example.com to coordinate supplies from the factory.
This is not the first time textile house Schumacher has stepped up to help with a national crisis. During World War II, the company wove parachute cloth for U.S. paratroopers. And now, they are donating more than 600 yards of fabric and creating masks at their South Carolina facility to combat the shortages there and in New York City, their headquarters since 1889.
"Within our company, we are shifting our focus to help combat this virus and do whatever we can to help our healthcare workers," says Timur Yumusaklar, the company's president and CEO. "We don't have many sewing machines within our warehouses across the world, but we are still starting to make protective masks with guidance from the healthcare community."
The company shipped 500 yards to the Woodard Furniture factory in Michigan, where designer Jean Liu has converted the company into a nonmedical-grade mask manufacturing operation. Schumacher has also worked with Matouk to produce additional masks to distribute in New York City.
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their hometown of Dallas, fine linens brand Peacock Alley reached out to local healthcare and case workers to learn how they could start making effective masks from their sheeting fabrics. The masks add a protective layer to help extend the life of the FDA-approved N95 masks. Currently, Peacock Alley produces approximately 100 masks daily that are sent to local groups such as Baylor Medical as well as Community Partners of Dallas, which supports the case workers of Child Protective Services.
Neiman Marcus Group and JOANN
"Within an hour of speaking with the team at JOANN, we already had a plan set into place as how we could produce this protective equipment at our four major alterations facilities in South Florida, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Dallas," explains Willis Weirich, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Group Operations.
Over the last week, Neiman Marcus Group’s alterations facilities received product from JOANN and began creating materials for use by healthcare providers under the guidelines provided by the Providence Hospital System in Washington, D.C.
"One of our goals is to partner with the local hospitals in the communities where our facilities are located,” says Weirich. “These healthcare workers are taking care of our associates and their families, so we want to make sure we are supporting them as much as we can.”
Textile company Perennials Fabrics pivoted their operations and opened their warehouse in Dallas to produce health masks for nearby hospitals and essential workers. Using their high-performance acrylic fabric, the leading brand has created masks that not only cover and extend the life of regulation N95 face masks, but that also stand up completely to bleach, making them ideal for healthcare workers who often use bleach to disinfect their protective gear. In addition to the Dallas warehouse, Perennials is now instructing artisans in their Mexico and India facilities to begin mask production.
As a part of the social-driven “#millionmaskchallenge,” textile company Pindler has reallocated its team of seamstresses to start producing masks made from the company’s durable fabrics. "We are tremendously grateful for the health care professionals who are working fearlessly to save lives during these challenging times,” says Sean Quinn, president of Pindler. “This project is our way of showing appreciation for them and doing our part to make a difference.”
After learning about a local hospital’s dire need of supplies, the team at textiles company Kravet Inc. began figuring out which of their fabrics could be used to make masks. Last week, the brand began producing the medical gear from their NorthCape, Illinois, warehouse and South Carolina facility, and they estimate they can produce nearly 3,000 masks per day. Additionally, Kravet donated 1,000 yards of fabric to various other warehouses and brands making masks, such as outdoor furniture brand Woodard Furniture.
Marin, California-based home linen goods brand Rough Linen reached out to health care company Kaiser Permanente when they learned of their dire need for masks. The home brand is using their linen sheeting to create protective masks under the specifications provided by doctors from Kaiser. Last week, Rough Linen produced 100 masks and donated additional linen to Kaiser’s team of volunteer sewers. They expect to ramp up their production to 150-250 masks per week.
Caitlin Wilson, CW Stockwell, and Delgado NYC
Dallas designer Caitlin Wilson, wallpaper and fabric company CW Stockwell, and luxury bag company Delgado NYC have teamed up to manufacture at least 1,000 non-medical grade masks. By using Delgado's elastic, Wilson's and CW Stockwell's fabrics, and each brand's talented sewers, the trio aims to create enough masks to send out to states hit hard by the pandemic like California, Texas, and New York. CW Stockwell is also asking for donations to help cover the costs and ensure each sewer is fairly compensated. You can donated by through the brand's GoFundMe page.
Baker Interiors Group
Based in Connelly Spring, North Carolina, Baker Interiors Group announced it's utilizing its manufacturing facilities, design resources, and high-quality fabrics to create breathable, machine washable masks and gowns for local healthcare workers. "We have mobilized our staff in a safe, clean environment; shifting production to design and produce PPEs to protect and support frontline workers who are in dire need of these essential supplies," explains Mike Jolly, president of Baker. "It’s the least we can do.”
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