Viral News

Sewing hope in times of crisis

When medical personnel called for help in replenishing their dwindling supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), brands and fashion designers answered, scissors and tape measure at the ready. 

The final prototype of PPE suit alternative to be produced by the Fashion for Frontliners. (Photo from @fashionforfrontliners/Instagram)

Last week, local fashion designers started mobilizing their teams to source materials and produce PPEs for medical frontliners, while appealing to the public to donate to further increase their production. 

Answering to the call from the Office of the Vice President, designer and milliner Mich Dulce, together with her colleagues, immediately established the Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club to design and produce medically approved PPEs which will be distributed through the OVP. 

The design was medically reviewed in Berkeley, California. Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Jesus Julio Ancheta also helped in checking the prototypes and materials on hand. After 48 hours  of checking and sourcing, Joey Socco’s Tafetta Silver Back Lining (SBL) has been approved as the material to be used. 

Medically approved personal protective equipment made using Tafetta SBL designed and created by the Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club. (Photo from Leni Robredo/Facebook)

“A few days ago, we made a call to our local fashion designers to help design a protective suit for medical frontliners. In just a few hours, well-known fashion designer Mich Dulce answered our call and already asked for a sample of what we wanted. After a day, they already have a pattern and it was available online for everyone to copy,” Vice President Leni Robredo said in a Facebook post. 

The Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club group on Facebook, which has nearly 2,000 members as of this writing, offers instructions on how to make the PPEs. 

“The pattern is available for everyone’s consumption. We will be producing in bulk but you can all have your local mananahis (seamstresses) make them for your own frontliners,” said Robredo. 

To donate materials and fabrics, contact Cynthia Diaz at 0917-866-2496. For cash donations, deposit via BPI Account 4169-5911-43 (Stephanie Tan) or through GCash 0906-474-6084. 

Rajo Laurel has also opened his factory to produce free PPEs for medical frontliners. “I could not sit idly and not do anything for our frontliners,” the designer said in an interview with Metro.Style. 

Fashion designer Michael Leyva (left) teams up with Angel Locsin to distribute the first batch of PPEs his team created. (Photo from michaelleyva_/Instagram)

Laurel’s design aims to use Tyvek, a high density polyethylene fiber manufactured by DuPont. But since the said material is not commonly found in the Philippines, Laurel and his friends, including Anne Curtis, are asking the public for donations or leads on suppliers. 

Aside from Tyvek, Laurel is also asking for donation of waterproof materials, 28 inches plastic zippers, and ¼ garter threads. 

To donate, contact Tricy Vergel de Dios at 0917-324-6091 or Mabi Yulo at 0917-824-3322, or email [email protected]

Fashion designers Steph Tan, Rob Ortega, Rosenthal Tee, Bessie Besana, Yong Davalos, Dre Tetangco, Jot Losa, Debbie Co, Vina Romero, Jill Lao, and Daryl Maat banded together to form Fashion for Frontliners. 

The team aims to produce non-medical grade but doctor-approved PPEs made of Taslan material (priced at P400 each), with the help of donations from the public.

“Our PPE suit is suggested as a decent alternative to protect our healthcare workers,” said Fashion for Frontliners.  

Leyva and his staff continue the production of PPEs for medical frontliners. (@michaelleyva_)

The first batch of the protective gear to be manufactured, the team said, will go to the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, UERM Memorial Hospital, Philippine Orthopedic Center, and San Juan Medical Center. 

“The PPE suits are solely for donation, with public hospitals as priority,” the group clarified.

As of March 30, the group have received over P2.5 million cash donations, which, based on initial cost per piece, could fund more than 6,300 PPEs. 

Donate through BDO Account 00352-802-1594 (Stephanie Go Tan), BPI Account 8060-0089-31 (Jill Adrianne Lao), GCash 0956-527-4065, or Paypal at [email protected] 

Designer Michael Leyva was also quick to turn his studio into a facility producing washable face masks, head covers, and other PPEs for frontliners.  

Healthcare workers take a much-deserved break to take a photo wearing the PPEs donated by Michael Leyva. (@michaelleyva_)

Leyva teamed up with Angel Locsin to distribute the first batch of PPEs his team created. Prior to receiving his donation, some of the healthcare workers had to use improvised PPEs made from plastic cover. 

“Seeing them makes me feel proud. I know that they are protected and can continue fight the battle. We should never let our heroes fight wearing garbage bags,” Leyva wrote in his Instagram post. 

Check out @michaelleyva_ on Instagram to know more.

More groups are currently raising funds for PPEs. 

Discover MNL has launched #BaryaNiJuan 50 in an effort to raise P300,000 to produce 1,000 locally made PPEs. In just eight hours since activation, the group surpassed its initial goal and raised P336,670. The group also gathered enough funds to finance the second batch of PPE suits. 

Send donations through Paymaya 0956-675-7868, BPI Account 4899-0633-98 (Walter Steven Siy), or BDO Account 0024-0021-4901 (Lucky Lyn Alabado). 

Local clothing brand Stay Dope offers manufacturing of 100-150 protective lab suits per week, with the help of public’s support in sourcing the material. “If you could donate something or at least give us the materials we need, then we’ll be willing to produce these suits ASAP,” the brand said in a Facebook post on March 24. 

Go to Stay Dope on Facebook to know more. 

Local apparel and accessories brand Penshoppe on March 26 announced that the company and its sister brands earmarked P200 million “as aid for our immediate and extended communities.”

Penshoppe has donated meals and rice to affected households in local community in and around its Quezon City offices. 

The brand added that they are donating to the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation’s Project Ugnayan to provide food relief for those in need, as well as to the Tanging Yaman Foundation to fund for PPEs. “We are also donating 25,000 surgical masks arriving this week, with the support of our vendors.”  

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