As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely affect the US, among the issues that have come to light during the unfolding crisis is a shortage of masks, gloves, and other PPE in both hospitals and out in the wider world. In fact, shortages are now common across the globe, with the surge in demand combined with facility shutdowns leaving conventional manufacturers unable to produce enough equipment.
However, as the rhetoric surrounding the novel coronavirus becomes increasingly battle-like, manufacturers in the wider textile and fashion industries have stepped up to the plate, retooling factories to produce a variety of equipment in a voluntary appropriation of resources not seen since the Second World War.
In fact, in an effort to ensure both healthcare professionals and the wider public are afforded the requisite protection, some of the world’s biggest brand names are refocusing their efforts on PPE. Here, we take a look at who’s making what and how textile, fashion, and workwear companies are making a difference.
Workwear and PPE
As an industry already well versed in the PPE sector, workwear companies have made a significant effort in supplying PPE and masks. In fact, as early as April 6, Carhartt switched some of its factories to begin manufacturing various types of PPE. On April 10, the company manufactured its first gown, with the goal of manufacturing a total of 50,000 over the coming days and weeks.
In addition to this, Carhartt has also committed to making 2.5 million masks, with manufacturing due to commence on April 20th. Further to this, Mark Valade, Chief Executive Officer at Carhartt had this to say:
Serving and answering the call during times of need has always been an integral part of Carhartt’s history……we are humbled and honored to help all the essential workers serving and protecting us right now.”
Carhartt isn’t the only workwear-based manufacturer to answer the call to arms, however, and VF Corp, the parent company of Dickies, plans to produce 3.4 million isolation gowns over the next few months to help U.S. health-care workers stay protected while fighting the pandemic. In addition to this, Dickies has also partnered with Careismatic Brands to produce another 1 million Dickies-branded sets of scrubs for medical workers.
Big players in the both the high street and high-fashion industries have also recognized the need for more PPE in hospitals. Brands such as Christian Siriano, Zara, H&M and Prada, alongside smaller companies such as Los Angeles Apparel and Karla Colletto, have also offered up their factories to produce masks. Additionally, non-consumer brands are also doing their bit, with culinary clothing manufacturer Hedley & Bennett, for example producing masks for frontline workers.
However, as the ramifications of this particular novel coronavirus really hit home, the prospect of the threat remaining for years rather than months is becoming increasingly real. Particularly as certain states, and even entire countries, make the wearing of masks mandatory when in public, and with the recent U-turn by the CDC stating that cloth facemasks should, in fact, be used to help slow the spread of the virus, the need for better looking, non-disposable equipment is now recognized.
This has meant that a number of smaller brands have branched out into manufacturing high-fashion masks designed for public use. Additionally, if demand continues to rise, it is likely that high-street fashion brands will soon start manufacturing masks for the general public. Either way, there’s now a very good chance that masks will become ubiquitous over the coming months, and as governmental measures remain stringent, everyone may be forced to wear them while out of the house.
All Seasons Uniforms is committed to providing the best service during this difficult time. For more information on our customer service hours, the current status of our partner–manufacturers, and a selection of protective masks, please check here.