With California Department of Public Health officials strongly advising local residents not to leave home without donning a mask, many companies have decided to pivot and start producing potential life-saving cloth versions.
While some of us have been trying to craft makeshift masks at home with bandanas and scarves, celebrity fashion brands are also stepping up, including Christian Siriano from “Project Runway” and H&M, to downtown L.A. apron manufacturer Hedley & Bennet, who make the chic chef aprons worn in all the best restaurants around town.
Beverly Hills resident and local clothing designer Franne Golde has collaborated with everyone from the Commodores to Randi Travis and Jody Watley as an award-winning songwriter. As the founder of her eponymous clothing line, Golde makes the perfect black pants dubbed “magic” by Oprah’s creative director and style guru Adam Glassman and has now started working with the organization Behind the Mask.
Right before the COVID-19 lockdown began, Golde said she “got a feeling that people were going to need masks.”
So, she ordered 50 masks for her clothing site from a local manufacturer and they sold out on her website in one day. “I wanted one personally, I thought they were really cool,” she told the Courier. Now the 100 percent sustainable cotton, pleated masks, which retail for just $15, have been on preorder for the past few weeks. “They are in such high demand,” said Golde. “We are getting orders from as far away as Massachusetts and New Jersey. People are asking, ‘where did you get your mask?'”
Golde manufacturer Dana Weinstein created Behind the Mask to help doctors and health care workers with a GoFundMe campaign. The group of local female entrepreneurs has raised $70,000 so far. Golde joined the fundraising team and is now donating a portion of all her sales to this cause for the month of April. Every dollar donated from Behind the Mask is going directly towards purchasing N95 medical-grade masks and gowns for hospital workers.
“We all have to contribute in any way we can,” said Golde. “I can’t give away all my profits because I need to keep my employees and my business going, but whatever I can do to help, I’m doing.”
As far as wearing masks in public after COVID-19, as other Asian countries like Japan have been doing for years, “I think that is going to become a way of life here.” she said. “I will keep them on the site until people stop ordering.”
But Golde is not expecting orders to dry up anytime soon. “I’m planning on keeping them throughout the year [on the site]. I’m also making some for fall in different patterns,” she added.
“We’re working on a comfortable layered mask right now that is a completely sustainable fabric with a knit pocket for an optional air filter and can be used as a washable cover for medical-grade masks and also used by the public.”
Golde has also started helping women through her new Tele-wear collection for people suddenly forced to conduct all business virtually from home. “It’s important to keep a daily schedule and not just stay in your pajamas and be depressed,” she told the Courier.
The Tele-wear offerings includes selling comfortable athleisure wear, casual basic wardrobe pieces and those famous pants for customers who are still shopping online. “It’s a simple uniform outfit which is what our whole collection is based on,” she said.
Along with daily exercise, Golde has been keeping in touch with her customers and being as transparent as possible during this trying time.
“When you look good you feel good and if we can make somebody feel good and inspire them to put a little lipstick on, then great.” https://www.frannegolde.com/#GetBehindTheMask