Frontliners across Malaysia are desperate for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential goods as Covid-19 patients are arriving to emergency rooms and intensive care units in growing numbers. It came to a point where staff from a particular hospital were improvising trash bags as medic-gowns.
While awaiting fresh supply of PPE to arrive , government healthcare workers at a Kelantan hospital are improvising , turning garbage bags into protective suits 🙏 there’s a will there a way pic.twitter.com/hLUad0mhR8
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) March 22, 2020
When PPE and medic supplies are low, frontliners are at a higher risk – several of them in Malaysia have already been infected. As our first line of defence against the virus, frontliners deserve to have access to these supplies. But with a world shortage, there’s only so much our government can do… and that’s where the local fashion industry stepped in!
Spearheaded by the Malaysian Official Designer Association (MODA), our local fashion designers are joining forces to combat the pandemic by doing their part to sew and supply PPE for healthcare personnel. The initiative was started by the president of MODA – Melinda Looi as the fundraiser to purchase more PPE supplies has been launched in partnership with FashionValet and IMARET.
Looi said that this is the time for everyone to come together to do whatever they can for the country and the real heroes in this crisis. She continued by stating that, “Some are willing to donate money while others are open to crafting, cutting and sewing these essential protective gowns.”
Besides MODA, renowned fashion designer Datuk Radzuan Radziwill has also launched a charity initiative to stitch PPE for the use of medical professionals in hospitals on 30 March.
Check out these five top Malaysian fashion designers who are helping out:
1. Melinda Looi
She is known for her avant-garde and vintage style but for now, she is known for starting this initiative! The project was initially meant to be among MODA designers but now has expanded beyond the circle, thanks to Looi.
Although she managed to get designers on board, the challenge now is in sourcing for the materials to make these gowns as it is in short supply and the prices keep rising. Looi stated that one roll of the material costs about RM5,000 now. One roll could be used to make 600 gowns according to Looi.
“If anyone is willing to donate or sell the material to us, please get in touch with me,” she stated.
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2. Khoon Hooi
Earning an iconic reputation for creating luxury with an edge, he showcased high fashion mixed with street credibility resulting in sky-rocketing sales of ready-to-wear pieces. This time around, Khoon Hooi wants to give back to society and relishes the opportunity to do so.
“Rather than just sitting home, it feels good to assist those putting themselves in danger to help others during this time”, he said, adding that he had been informed that hospital staff could use up to 400 gowns in just one day, so whatever they could supply would be much needed.
“There are four of us in my team including me, doing the sewing. We are glad to contribute in any way we can,” Hooi said. The team also includes Joe Chia.
3. Celest Thoi
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Constructing feminine and sophisticated bridal dresses for the modern and strong female, Celest Thoi is overseeing a team of 10 to 12 seamstresses – some her own and others, volunteers, who have agreed to give their time to this cause.
“I’m touched by how people are coming together for this effort… We as designers are used to making gowns, but these gowns save lives and it’s heartwarming to be involved with something like this,” said Thoi.
Adding that, “People can buy and donate masks but not many can sew, which is why fashion designers play a crucial role in this effort… We can contribute in this area because we have the skills.”
4. Alia Bastamam
Alia Bastamam considers it her patriotic duty to support this initiative. So far, she has ordered two rolls of the necessary fabric and hopes to make 1,200 protective outfits.
“I grew up near a hospital because my mother was a lecturer to medical students so this is an issue close to my heart… I’m thankful that I’m surrounded by family and friends who are quick to donate the supplies needed to make this happen,” she said.
When she’s not creating medic gowns, Alia is all about preserving the aesthetic of luxe lounge resort-wear and developing ideal selections for the urban woman.
5. Datuk Radzuan Radziwill
This renowned fashion designer was driven by sympathy borne out for hospital personnel who had to stitch their own PPE due to its short supply. Radzuan said each day he is able to prepare 50 pairs of PPE outer garments daily with the aid of a doctor from the Serdang Hospital following the implementation of the MCO.
“My friend provides information on the size, the material and information on the supplier… To date, over 200 pairs (of PPE) had been completed and I would like to produce another 1,000 or 2,000 pairs of outer robes and head covers to give to personnel who require it,” he said.
He also hopes that more designers and tailors can work together on this project.
“I believe more can contribute to frontline workers and ease their difficulty in getting adequate PPE supply,” Radzuan urges.
Besides this five designers, Melinda Looi told Gempak that InnaiRed, Jimmy Lim, Key Ng, You Sheng, Keith Kee, Kit Woo, FiziWoo, Mimpikita, Nurita Harith, Brian Khoo, Justin Yap, Michael Ooi, SML Fashion School, Dwen Raha, Eleusis Bridal and many more volunteers are helping on this initiative.
With all this effort, it just shows that we can go through this time of crisis together.
‘Til then, stay home and keep updated with JUICE.