Photo from: @ShopBobbyK
High fashion meets high demand in times of crisis. Companies and businesses all around the JAX region are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the most significant ways possible. As the shortage of face masks deepens nationwide, these local fashion designers and businesses are switching up their operations to help those working on the front line and those who are in need.
With a mission to help survivors of human trafficking, Jacksonville-based nonprofit Rethreaded, has changed their production to give back to the community by sewing protective masks for caregivers at Ascension St. Vincent’s and Baptist Health. The hospital systems are providing the mask material for Rethreaded, which can keep out water, bacteria and 99.9 percent of particulates. Amidst a pandemic that has caused an economic slowdown, this unique partnership shows local innovation and collaboration that can found in JAX to keep businesses moving and spirits high. Covering the financial cost of labor are four Jacksonville-based credit unions: 121 Financial Credit Union, Community First Credit Union, Jax Federal Credit Union and VyStar Credit Union.
Known more for their swimsuits and women’s fashion, Jacksonville-based Venus Fashion is repurposing their materials for face masks and hospital gowns that will go to hospitals throughout Jacksonville, as well as St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. To ensure the safety of its team and health care workers, Venus has increased sanitation protocols and instituted social distancing at the warehouse where the masks are handmade. The swimwear company has produced more than 2,000 masks.
BobbyK Boutique, a local boutique in the historic Springfield neighborhood, has also shifted to making homemade face masks for health care workers and those with weakened immune systems. For every mask sold, designer Bobby Kelly and his team donates a mask to give to health care workers. Have your own materials to use? BobbyK is offering its mask pattern for anyone looking to make masks at home.
Other JAX brands and boutiques crafting masks: