When the COVID-19 crisis hit in March and it became clear that the U.S. was facing a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by front-line healthcare workers, Fashion Girls for Humanity sprang into action.
Founded by fashion industry leaders Kikka Hanazawa, Julie Gilhart, Miki Higasa, and Tomoko Ogura in the wake of the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, Fashion Girls for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that collects donations from the fashion industry in the aftermath of natural disasters.
With the coronavirus pandemic, Fashion Girls for Humanity realized their particular expertise in fashion enabled them to do more than simply fundraise. In addition to seeking donations for their Gowns for Good Made in America, which funds small businesses and garment factories in the U.S. that have pivoted their manufacturing to produce PPE for donation to hospitals in need, Fashion Girls for Humanity created a variety of patterns for gowns and masks, made them available for free for anyone to download from their website, and created more than 2,200 hours of how-to tutorial videos. In just three months, more than 100,000 people from 155 countries downloaded the patterns and viewed the videos.
As it became increasingly difficult to source small quantities of trims, especially elastic, for small-scale PPE production, Fashion Girls for Humanity began selling individual trim kits for a nominal shipping fee through its website. In May, YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. reached out to donate zippers, polyester tape, SOFIX® plastic injected tape, and hook & loop for these trim kits.
“Lives are being lost due to lack of PPE. In order to prevent this, we feel strongly that we need to create a system where PPE can be delivered where it is needed in such a way that even small communities can buy it. YKK is helping us achieve this goal,” said Kikka Hanazawa, co-founder, Fashion Girls for Humanity.
YKK is also donating these products to MadeByUS, an initiative by one of Fashion Girls for Humanity’s partner organizations, Humans from Home. Established by Emile Khattar to mobilize the American workforce quarantined at home, Humans from Home is a 501(c)(3) based in Richmond, VA that provides kits that include everything needed for volunteers to create isolation gowns. Volunteers sign up with MadeByUS, receive a set of isolation gown kits, construct the gowns at home and then return the completed gowns to drop-off points, where MadeByUS drivers bring the gowns to their partner’s facilities where they are sanitized, quality checked, packaged and shipped to end users.
“YKK was founded on the Cycle of Goodness philosophy, which teaches us that no one prospers without rendering benefit to others,” said Keith Glaser, Director – Textile & Plastic Products, YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. “Our collaboration with Fashion Girls for Humanity and Humans from Home on PPE production is a perfect example of the Cycle of Goodness in action.”
Webinar: Working Together to Solve the PPE Crisis
On July 30, 2020 at 1:00 PM US Eastern Time, YKK will host a webinar with Fashion Girls For Humanity and MadeByUS to discuss ways the fashion industry can partner with small business and volunteers to alleviate the PPE crisis. Key takeaways will include how we can support our local communities through PPE production; how to obtain patterns for sewing your own gowns and masks; how-to tutorial videos to create PPE; and what kind of trims kits you should prepare for creating PPE.
Speakers will include:
- Kikka Hanazawa, fashion investor, CEO of VPL, and co-founder of Fashion Girls for Humanity
- Miki Higasa, founder of brand strategy and public relations and marketing consulting firm Kaleidoscope Consulting and co-founder of Fashion Girls for Humanity
- Emile Khattar, Founder, Humans from Home and MadeByUS
- Keith Glaser, Director – Textile & Plastic Products, YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.
- Jessica Cork, Vice President – Community Engagement and Corporate Communications, YKK Corporation of America
To register, visit https://go.ykkamericas.com/webinar0730