On the same sewing machines that create custom wedding dresses and alter gowns, some bridal shops around the United States are now pivoting to making masks for people on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
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"When I heard Gov. Cuomo say that the medical professionals who are sacrificing their lives everyday needed masks, it was a no-brainer," Hillary Anne O’Dell, founder of Hilandel, a custom wedding gown design company, told TODAY Style. "I knew that even small companies like mine could help so I started creating these important supplies from home."
The team at Loulette Bride in Brooklyn, New York, has been busy making masks and encouraging people to make their own by following a video tutorial.
"At Loulette Bride, we have completely stopped our own work, as per the governor's orders, have not had any appointments and have halted our alterations since all brides are rescheduling their events anyway," Marteal Mayer, founder of Loulette Bride, told TODAY.
In the past week, Mayer's team has made more than 250 masks using leftover fabric from dresses and fabric donations, as well as more than 50 surgical caps for the Mt. Sinai ICU nursing staff.
"We continue to make more, depending on the fabric we can get at this time as we already have run out," Mayer said.
Bridal designer Hayley Paige, along with her partner, La Gartier Wedding Garters, has made more than 100 masks for medical workers. She said she decided to add some "razzle dazzle" to make the masks stand out.
"We've partnered with the fabulous @lagartier for these handcrafted beauties and ALL are being donated to hospitals and volunteers in the NYC area (plus a few out of state hospitals and first responders who have made special requests)," she wrote on Instagram.
While the coronavirus pandemic has caused business to come to a near standstill for many bridal shops with weddings being postponed, they're also finding creative ways to engage with brides.
"Due to manufacturing delays in China caused by COVID-19, I'm able to be a resource to brides who wouldn't have initially thought about a custom dress. We make and source our everything in New York City so I can produce a dress as quick as eight weeks, whereas traditional wedding dress lead times are 9-12 months," O'Dell said. "Like most businesses, I'm learning to maximize virtual connection and continuing with consultations and appointments through video chat."