As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to pile up with provinces across the country advancing into Stage 3 (Ontario included), Canadian designers have made it their mission to #PayItForward.
Joining the fight against COVID-19 to help protect citizens and frontline workers have caused some businesses to turn on their head. For others, producing personal protective equipment (PPE) has simply become an extension of their design process and day-to-day operations.
Better yet, some brands are making it a point to donate their profits to individuals, communities, and institutions that employ frontline workers in need.
“Supporting my community is very important to me, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Tassoni, who began making reusable face and hand coverings with locally sourced materials in March. “This initiative is a chance for us to use our skills, supply chain, and equipment to help produce products that will bridge the protective equipment gap in hospitals.”
Of course, with the growing demand for such a critical, everyday necessity, comes the need to innovate.
With nearly every major retailer producing and selling a line of masks at faster rates and lower prices than many Canadian brands can afford to, it’s almost as if some designers have been forced to fulfill the requirements of the public — a do or die in order to survive the pandemic as a small business.
That said, producing PPE has generated yet another revenue stream for many designers as well, leaving them room to get creative and appeal to a much larger customer base.
Diversifying the PPE range at Joseph Tassoni meant designing petite, “standard,” and beard-fitting masks to accommodate for different sizes, as well as branded masks for local businesses.
A Happy Hour Mask Kit is also available and comes with a bent metal straw, cleaner and cloth carrying case to stash everything in.
The Medicine Hat, Alta., founded company is also selling washable satin travel bags to store masks in, helping to safeguard against contaminants they’ll be exposed to when worn.
Canada’s leading designer reseller The Upside recently created a range of masks from donated and unused dust bags. $20 from each sale is donated to the YW Calgary — the largest and longest-serving women’s organization in the province.
Plus, a global marketplace for craft lovers, Etsy, has no shortage of decorative mask lanyards, chains, and knitted ponytail holders made by Canadian shop owners that keep staying safe, stylish.
What’s next for PPE? Good question.
Anastasia Barbuzzi is a freelance journalist, photographer, and the digital editor at STYLE Canada. You’ll find her writing about beauty, fashion, life, and wellness on the internet and in print. She’s passionate about promoting and uncovering ways for the world to live a little more sustainably, and she loves a brand with a clean, green attitude. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter, and if you need something to read, check out her website.