The shortage of proper personal protection equipment (PPE) when it comes to the COVID-19 response is quite frankly, very appalling. As a first-world country, shouldn’t we have access to such things? Small and mid-size businesses are stepping up to the fact that most of our items are not readily available in the United States from day one given that much of our products and supplies tend to be imported.
“Well, I think, one of the biggest key things here is that we’re in this position because we stopped making things for ourselves, and we have long believed that we need to move our culture back to making more of what we use, instead of, you know, having 97 [to] 95% of what we use be imported,” shares Jen Guarino, CEO of ISAIC, who’s entire operation devoted to production American-made garments shifted to making gowns for medical staff due to COVID-19.
“What we hope will be the lesson from this is, it’s not a pure statement, we don’t have to be purists, but if we could keep 30 or 40% of our manufacturing here we’re not exposed anymore and then we’re putting people to work locally, I mean, what we’re finding out is there’s a race to the bottom for the cheapest. But actually, it comes at a very high cost.”
ISAIC, the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center is described as a Detroit-based 501c3 nonprofit, a national resource for those committed to positive impact through responsible production of high-quality garments and provides solutions centered around people, education, advanced manufacturing and upward mobility for workers.
A floor below ISAIC’s operating space sits Carhartt, who’s operations have shifted to making safer masks for frontline workers, and pledging “50,000 medical gowns on April 6 and 2.5 million masks on April 20,” the company said in a press release.
And just this week, rap group Insane Clown Posse donated over 300 t-shirts from over the years to Detroit Sewn in order to create more masks for hospital workers as well, and 1/2 of the group, Violent J took time to joke with TMZ, saying “They were mostly Shaggy 2 Dope shirts, so they don’t really sell anyway,” quipping about his partner. Those donations, according to the Detroit Free Press, will equal out to 2,000 to 3,000 masks and will be turned around in a matter of days.
The amount of fashion creatives and good samaritans stepping up in this time of need to create masks and gowns is a light shining in a bleak feeling world right now. Seeing that people are striving to do good again by sharing what they have obtained for themselves with those who are fighting for us and our lives, it restores a little faith in humanity.
While the masks that these very giving companies are creating are not for sale to average citizens, we have a few options of places to shop for some cool masks. You know, Coronavirus – but make it fashion.
And if that’s not unique enough for your sensibilities, there’s always creating your own by following our tutorial here on TikTok:
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