From Malaysia to Singapore, how Asian fashion designers are swapping haute couture for sewing personal protective equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak

Filipino designer Rajo Laurel’s fashion company reopened its factory at the end of March, shifting skilled dressmakers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line soldiers. As of May 1, he has raised more than 2.3 million pesos (US$45,000) and finished making more than 4,000 suits. These were distributed to various hospitals across the country and even reached the remotest islands such as Jolo in the southern part of the archipelago. “I think it’s our responsibility as designers to create what we think of as modern day armor,” Laurel said. style.

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In Singapore, bespoke suit company CYC has pledged to produce 300,000 masks for migrant workers. “They build our roads. They build our homes and offices. They clean our grounds. Most of them work outdoors and live in cramped dormitories. “However, many of them do not have access to masks, putting them at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a release. CYC reports that an overwhelming number of sewer volunteers are participating, each working to make his 300 masks in his 10 days.

Jupiter Mandagi

Malaysian fashion designer Jovian Mandagi is also making personal protective equipment. Instead of the usual blue worn by health workers in his country, Mandagi chose white. “We decided to produce white PPE as a symbol of the pure and clean hearts of our frontline troops. We are safe at home, but they are out fighting the pandemic. ” Mandagi posted on Instagram. His work became popular among healthcare workers, who praised the quality and premium packaging of his PPE. As of last week, Mandagi has also begun working with charity Mercy Malaysia to deliver her personal protective equipment to London to help protect Malaysian doctors and nurses working in the UK.

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Ann Avanti

Designer Anne Avanti is known for her luxurious versions of traditional Indonesian dresses. kebaya, is also putting effort into it. Avanti accepts donations through the foundation and uses the funds to procure materials. Her team is working long hours to produce personal protective equipment, but they can’t produce it in large quantities. The designer appealed to the public through his social media accounts, stating that the team makes everything by hand and does not use factories.

Fashion for those on the front lines

An initiative by 10 Filipino fashion designers to collect and distribute PPE, the group has so far delivered 7,000 to 47 hospitals and is currently appealing for a second round of donations to manufacture 4,000 more. The group includes Bessie Besana, Gil Rao, Yong Davalos, Andrea Tetanco, Steph Tan, Rob Ortega, Darryl Maat, Giotto Rosa, Viña Romero, Debbie Coe, Rosenthal Tee, and more. contained.

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Another organization that is helping create PPE for frontliners is the Malaysian Official Designers Association (MODA). The group, led by Melinda Looi, along with Celeste Tooi, Kee Ng and Koon Hooi, will work with Imam Response and Relief to deliver personal protective equipment to hospitals in need. We are active in this way. Louie said she saw videos of frontline workers sewing their own personal protective equipment and felt the need to help and collaborate with her fellow designers. Through online donations, she raised more than RM300,000 (US$69,200) to purchase more materials and continue her work. But they need more. Louie said each hospital discards about 15,000 sets of her PPE each week. With this in mind, she says her goal is now over 500,000 suits. Keeping her hope alive, she appealed to Malaysians to donate or volunteer to help with the sewing.

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