Los Angeles has the largest concentration of apparel manufacturers in the country, and in a time of massive need due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, those resources are being put to good use. On Thursday night, the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the launch of L.A. Protects: a partnership with ethical fashion label Reformation to organize production of non-medical masks.
In addition to manufacturing masks within its own sewing factory using its own fabrics, Reformation has been deputized to recruit other L.A. garment and apparel manufacturers to supply materials and support manufacturing protective equipment at scale. Reformation will be responsible for quality assurance checks and will also work to build out funding for the initiative.
"It's important that we take care of each other during this pandemic," said Reformation founder Yael Aflalo in a statement. "Part of this is ensuring that the brave workers who are the backbone of our Los Angeles community, and keep our essential needs met, have access to the necessary tools to protect themselves and others. Whether you are working in a grocery store, pharmacy, hospital, or another critical industry, you deserve to be safe and healthy."
The goal is to produce five million non-medical masks — based on specifications provided by Kaiser Permanente — that will be sold to essential workers such as grocery store and pharmacy employees, so that medical-grade masks are reserved solely for healthcare workers. Those requesting gear, or looking to help, simply fill out a form online to do so. Additionally, Reformation is selling packs of masks on its website to consumers at $25 for five; there's also an option to donate the masks for the same price.
"Our manufacturing sector is unmatched anywhere, and the ingenuity of working people will help us get through this emergency," said Mayor Garcetti. "L.A. Protects will save people — and save jobs."
The initiative is particularly helpful in that it organizes and streamlines a process that has been a source of much confusion over the past couple of weeks, with many companies wanting to help but not necessarily having the right information on what types of masks are needed and where to send them. For more information, head here.