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Local Designers Rally To Help Sew PPE For Medical Frontliners

Local Designers Rally To Help Sew PPE For Medical Frontliners

Tasneem Nazari

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Famous local fashion designers plus their teams of seamstresses have been busy working to help supply local hospitals with the much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gowns.

Big names such as Jovian Mandagie, Khoon Hooi, Radzuan Radziwill, Alia Bastamam, Melinda Looi, Celeste Thoi, Nurita Harith, Mimpikita, Justin Yap, and Fizi Woo are doing their part to help the country battle the Covid-19 pandemic by putting their sewing skills to good use to produce PPE for medical workers.

Melinda Looi, designer and President of Malaysian Official Designers Association (MODA) said she was dismayed to see pictures and videos of nurses and doctors sewing their own PPE gowns.

They should be focusing on saving lives instead. Leave the sewing work to the designers.

Melinda Looi via FMT

So, the association decided to rally those in the industry to help out and received an overwhelming response from not only fashion designers, but others as well who wanted to help make the PPE gowns. In two days, Melinda also managed to secure RM100,000 in donations. 

Speaking of this, Melinda said that this was the time everyone was coming together doing whatever they could for the country and the real heroes in this crisis.

She added that despite the fact that designers are unable to run their businesses as normal and that their income have been affected, they remain a caring lot and want to contribute in any way they can.

I have received so many calls and messages from designers wanting to help. Some are willing to donate money while others are open to crafting, cutting and sewing these essential protective gowns.

Melinda Looi via NST

Delivery of materials has been made to the homes of designers, where they have been working hard to produce as many hospital gowns as they possibly can.

Fashion designer Khoon Hooi is already creating 600 pieces of PPO gowns. Key Ng is doing a few hundred PPE jumpsuits, Alia Bastamam, Innai Red, Nurita Harith, and Mimpikita are all creating a few hundred pieces each. I am targeting between 80,000 to 100,000 pieces of PPE.

Melinda Looi via FMT

Jovian Mandagie put his own designer twist to the gowns and sewed them in white to symbolise the front liners’ “pure and clean hearts”.

Alia Bastamam has ordered two rolls of the necessary fabric and hopes to make 1,200 protective outfits.

Meanwhile, upon hearing that hospital staff could use up to 400 gowns in just one day, Khoon Hooi said that whatever they could supply would be much needed and shared that it feels good to assist those who are putting themselves in danger to help others during this time.

According to Melinda, one roll of the material cost about RM5,000 now and one roll could be used to make 600 gowns.

In their statement, MODA states that PPE hospital gowns are very important to protect medical frontliners from contracting the virus when they deal with confirmed and potentially positive Covid-19 patients.

MODA has around 40 members and they also have some 200 home seamstresses and general members of the public contributing to this initiative. Melinda was most touched when senior citizens in their 60s and 70s asked her if they could contribute and sew, too.

All PPE gowns that have been completed so far have been delivered to the Institute for Medical Research and Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-qZH32gLBW/

Besides this, MODA is also working with online retailer FashionValet for their help with fundraising, and Imaret (Ismalic Medical Association of Malaysia) for distribution to their network of hospitals.

MODA, which is a non-profit organisation, is also appealing to the public to donate, in a bid to raise funds to buy the fabric needed to sew the gowns, as well as purchase other essentials like latex gloves and shoe covers for the frontliners.

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