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COVID-19: More Denim Companies Pivot to Mask Production

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Another week under quarantine and the denim industry continues to find ways to support the fight against the coronavirus.

Hudson Jeans turned the lights back on at its Los Angeles facility this week to make non-medical masks crafted with upcycled denim and other cotton fabrics from prior collections.

The mask collections are sold in packs of three on the brand’s website for $30. Each mask features two ties instead of elasticized loops.

Revenue from the sale of the masks will cover wages for the Hudson craftspeople who sew these masks by hand. Remaining proceeds will be donated to PATH’s COVID-19 fund, a Southern California nonprofit providing services to the homeless and others in need.

“This initiative allows for us to bring back to work our highly skilled sewers,” said Maria Borromeo, Hudson Jeans CEO. “I’m very grateful to be able to support our team in this way at this critical time. These individuals are the heart of Hudson. We are very fortunate to be able to call upon them to use their skill set to continue to help flatten the curve.”

As a member of the L.A. fashion community, Paige is following Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s request to produce non-medical face masks in its manufacturing facilities. For every pack of four masks ($20 retail) sold on the brand’s website, Paige will donate one pack to be distributed to those on the front lines. Additionally, with every online purchase, Paige will include one non-medical face mask at no extra cost.

“By increasing the quantity of non-medical face masks available to our local communities, our goal is to help ensure that there are enough medical-grade masks available to the healthcare and essential workers who need them most,” the company stated.

Fellow L.A. denim brand Mother is also upcycling its fun heritage prints to make non-medical, reusable masks. For every set of two masks sold on the brand’s website through April 30, Mother will contribute $10 to No Kid Hungry, which ensures children get the food they need during school closures.

Warp + Weft  has kids in mind, too. On Earth Day, the direct-to-consumer brand kicked off an initiative to support children during the coronavirus pandemic. The company is collecting and matching donations for No Kid Hungry through its site to help provide meals to kids in need. Customers can make a donation through the brand’s website. No purchase is necessary and the initiative will run through the month of May.

“We chose No Kid Hungry because we believe we’re building a brand for the next generation, and right now the next generation really needs our help,” said Warp + Weft CEO Sarah Ahmed.

A new organization aims to “harness the global and iconic power of denim to impact the world.” L.A.-based Denim Strong is producing, selling and donating “Made in USA” denim masks to people in need.

“The conversation about what the best fabric is for face masks that help combat the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t include denim. But it should,” said Nichelle Bell, Denim Strong community outreach coordinator. Denim’s durable and dense qualities, she added, make the fabric a “strong shield against germs and other pathogens.”

Denim Strong masks have two layers—an outer denim shell and an inner lining made from a cotton—and are machine washable and dryable so they can be reused. Masks retail for $25 on Denim Strong’s website.

Denim companies and trims suppliers pitch in the fight against COVID-19.

Denim Strong

The organization has a goal to donate 5,000 masks. “That’s ambitious for us, but we want to help as many people as possible,” Bell said.

Trims maker Talon International has retooled its manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and around the world to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical and non-medical purposes.

Talon is supplying 3-ply face masks and medical-grade face shields, as well as cloth masks. The company’s stretch technologies facility in L.A. was revamped to begin making face shields, which will help N95 masks last longer by protecting them from particulate matter.

The company is also manufacturing and importing hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, gloves and medical gowns. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of PPE will be donated to the Feeding America organization.

“For over 125 years, Talon has supplied the fashion industry with trims, zippers and other related products,” said Larry Dyne, Talon CEO. “Today, the world has very different needs… This team is passionate about being able to help the whole world in this effort. Our entire supply chain is mobilized and ready to meet this global challenge.”

And Lenzing is putting plans in motion to increase the amount of protective gear available in Europe. Lenzing AG has joined forces with Austrian textile company Palmers Textil AG to found Hygiene Austria LP GmbH, a new company that will start producing and selling protective masks for the domestic and European markets from May.

Together, the entities have invested several million euros in a modern production infrastructure in Wiener Neudorf, Austria, and secured raw materials for mouth-nose protective masks and surgical protective masks of class EN14683. Hygiene Austria LP GmbH plans to increase its capacities to more than 25 million masks per month over the next few weeks and to expand this business geographically as well.

“We decided to pool our knowledge, network and experience in a competence center for hygiene together with our partner Palmers. The aim of this joint venture is to provide the citizens of Austria and Europe with the best possible protection through locally manufactured, high-quality products,” said Stefan Doboczky, Lenzing AG CEO. “Masks will continue to play an important role in our daily lives and we are proud that we were able to achieve our goal of an industrial production so quickly together with our partner Palmers.”

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