Fash­ion de­sign­ers help by mak­ing PPES

From Cebu to Manila, they are do­ing what­ever they can to help fight this war. They’re call­ing for fab­ric do­na­tions

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - CHECHE V. MORAL —STORY BY

From Cebu to Metro Manila, the fash­ion com­mu­nity is or­ga­niz­ing to ease the short­age of personal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPES) for health care work­ers. Milliner Mich Dulce is spear­head­ing a Facebook group, Manila Pro­tec­tive Gear Sewing Club, to call on vol­un­teers in the fash­ion and gar­ment in­dus­tries to sew PPES or do­nate non­wo­ven or water­proof fab­rics.

The fash­ion com­mu­nity is or­ga­niz­ing its mem­bers to ad­dress the short­age of personal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE), face masks and shoe cov­ers for health-care work­ers and COVID-19 front-lin­ers.

A group led by milliner Mich Dulce and friends has cre­ated the Facebook group Manila Pro­tec­tive Gear Sewing Club to call on col­leagues in the fash­ion and gar­ment in­dus­tries to sew PPES for dis­tri­bu­tion to hospi­tal front-lin­ers.

They’re also call­ing for do­na­tions from fab­ric re­tail­ers for non­wo­ven fab­rics—a “min­i­mum of 50 GSM,” or grams per square me­ter, or the fab­rics used for eco bags, Dulce ex­plained in her Facebook post— and water­proof fab­rics such as taffeta and those used for um­brel­las and rain­coats.

They also need zip­pers 26” or longer as well as garters and elas­tics. (Donors may contact Cyn­thia Diaz at tel. 0917866249­6 or Facebook: Manila Pro­tec­tive Gear Sewing Club.)

“While these are not med­i­cal-grade PPE, due to the short­age of PPES, my doc­tor-friends said they’re bet­ter than noth­ing,” Dulce wrote.

Dulce’s group is co­or­di­nat­ing with the office of Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo, which will pro­vide them with the pro­to­type PPES from which the vol­un­teers can make pat­terns. Ro­bredo’s office will han­dle the dis­tri­bu­tion of the PPES, wrote Dulce.

As of this writ­ing, 700-plus vol­un­teers have signed up with the group. Among those who have re­sponded to Dulce’s call is Sandy Hig­gins, direc­tor of Slims Fash­ion and Arts School.

Hig­gins has tapped one of Slims’ re­cent grad­u­ates, Mario San­tos, to lead their school’s vol­un­teers.

Will­ing to help

“It’s still in the very early stages,” Hig­gins told Life­style in a phone in­ter­view. “We’re still wait­ing for word from

Mich’s group about the lo­gis­tics. We’re also still wait­ing for the pat­terns and ma­te­ri­als. I also spoke to some­one from the office of the Vice Pres­i­dent. They’re still do­ing ground­work and fig­ur­ing out lo­gis­tics and re­sources. But yes, we have many grad­u­ates who are quite will­ing to help and who have sewing ma­chines at home. We’re here to help the sit­u­a­tion with our skills.”

Hig­gins is also in talks with Gianna Mon­ti­nola of Hands On Manila on how they could farm out the sewing of PPES to each barangay, so the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion is lo­cal­ized.

An­other designer, Happy An­drada, has set up a shop­ping site (www.shophap­pyan­drada.big­car­tel.com) where 100-per­cent of pro­ceeds from sales of her designs will go to the pur­chase of PPES for front-lin­ers.

Pri­vate groups and in­di­vid­u­als all over the coun­try have been or­ga­niz­ing to cre­ate PPES for the front-lin­ers in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

At the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Cebu’s Fablab, fac­ulty and staff have de­signed and started 3D-print­ing frames for PPE face shields. The group is count­ing on donors to fi­nance their ef­forts.

Some moms from Xavier School in San Juan City have also started mak­ing DIY face shields, us­ing only clear ac­etate, foam and elas­tic garter, for health-care vol­un­teers.

There are so­cial me­dia posts of health-care work­ers im­pro­vis­ing their own PPES with avail­able ma­te­ri­als, like re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tle con­tain­ers, while a Facebook group called 3D Print­ing for a Cause PH has been print­ing frames for face shields.

These are all laud­able acts by Good Sa­mar­i­tans. How­ever, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) warned Tuesday that DIY face­masks and PPES don’t guar­an­tee 100-per­cent pro­tec­tion.

But still, “any pro­tec­tion will be bet­ter than no pro­tec­tion,” WHO’S Rabindra Abiyas­inghe was quoted as say­ing in news re­ports.

—KARLSTON LAPNITEN

Health­care worker at Cordillera Hospi­tal of the Divine Grace in La Trinidad, Benguet, wears pro­tec­tive equip­ment he im­pro­vised.

—MARK ALVIC ESPLANA/IN­QUIRER SOUTH­ERN LU­ZON

Doc­tors and other med­i­cal staff wear im­pro­vised personal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPES), as they set up an out­door triage at the Legazpi City Health Cen­ter.

—MARK ALVIC ESPLANA/IN­QUIRER SOUTH­ERN LU­ZON

Med­i­cal worker dons DIY face shield at Legazpi City Health Cen­ter.

Facebook group Manila Pro­tec­tive Gear Sewing Club’s call for PPE fab­ric do­na­tions

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