Lauren Gabrielson set up face time with her sister in Arkansas who's a nurse for tips on how to make a mask.
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Gabrielson is a fashion designer in Williamsburg who normally makes clothing for women and children. But with medical supplies in limited supply, she heard Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call to action.
"If you have equipment and personnel and believe you could manufacture these items…we need those masks, those gowns, gloves, and we need them now. I'm asking businesses to be creative,” Cuomo said in a press conference.
Creativity: check. Material: check.
"I pulled out some of our cotton, our 100 percent woven fabric. It's important that they could be washed. And that's it's breathable. So synthetic fabrics are not great for that,” Gabrielson said.
As for personnel, Gabrielson only brought in one employee, her pattern-maker, to practice social distancing in her manufacturing space. But masks are something new for the duo, who admit it's more complicated than they anticipated.
"The tightness. It needs to be tied around the chin and the nose. So that they could breathe, but it needs to be tight around the face,” Gabrielson said.
Gabrielson is one of several among the city's fashionistas who are donating their time and expertise in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Designer Christian Siriano redirected his sewing team to make surgical masks with the hope of producing thousands to boost the supply.
Gabrielson, who's been in business for a decade, says she doesn't have that kind of workforce but plans to turn out dozens this week.
"I hope we can make a difference for at least one hospital. Or whoever we can help,” Gabrielson said.
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