PETALING JAYA: With demand of personal protective equipment surging, local fashion designers who are sewing PPE for medical frontliners are appealing to garment factories to get involved in the effort.
Malaysian Official Designers’ Association (Moda), which earlier launched an initiative to produce PPE for frontliners, is calling on factories to help designers cut large volumes of fabric.
“Due to high demand, cutting the material in bulk for sewing requires special cutting equipment, and we currently do not have enough cutting machines to match the demand.
“So we are on the lookout for help from garment factories to volunteer to cut the large volumes of material for us.
“One person with the cut fabric can produce about 10 to 15 sets consisting of an isolation gown, head cover and boot cover. Although we have volunteers, the delivery and pick-up of the PPE is also a logistical challenge, ” Moda said.
It added that its designers, despite their limited capacity, were using all the resources they had to produce PPE items.
“We seek support from the public and companies to continue donating money or in kind to help us help more frontliners to do their job safely so they can keep us safe at home.”
Its president Melinda Looi said the designers were aiming to expand operations to create PPE units on a bigger scale and more efficiently.
“We are fortunate to have one designer who has a medium-sized operation with five workers and a cutting machine for larger quantities that’s able to produce 300 to 500 PPE gowns and 300 head and shoe covers in a day.”
She said, however, the price of non-woven materials had been volatile, and so getting the materials at an optimal price had been a challenge.
“We have raised RM400,000 but we are only producing at below 50% of our capacity due to the lack of reasonably priced non-woven materials in the market.
“Given our current estimates, we are targeting to sew over 50,000 isolation gowns plus other PPE items for our frontliners over the next two to four weeks, ” she said.
Moda now has over 40 fashion designers and private companies involved in the project producing PPE for frontliners.
It also has over 200 seamstresses and tailors volunteering to sew the PPE, with the number of volunteers growing each day.
Since the initiative started on April 1, the designers have produced and donated over 5,000 isolation gowns, 5,000 pieces of shoe cover, 1,200 pieces of head cover, among various other items.
Partners of the project are FashionValet and Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia, which set up the online fundraising platform and handle the distribution mechanism to Health Ministry facilities.
Those wishing to contribute to the initiative can visit https://bit.ly/modamoreppe for further information.
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