by Karen Alberg Grossman
Hickey Freeman has revved up mask production in Rochester.

It’s a global crisis so of course, even our most financially-battered apparel industry firms are ready and able to help hospital workers obtain protective gear. Since last week’s MR feature on menswear companies producing masks, we’ve learned of many more retailers and manufacturers, large and small, who have joined the cause.

Production began last week at Hickey Freeman’s Rochester facility to deliver 10,000 masks to Rochester General Hospital. “We have hundreds of the best sewing machine operators in the country,” said Stephen Granovsky, CEO. “When Rochester General made the request, of course, we answered the call. We will do whatever it takes; it’s a small contribution compared to that of the health care workers we’re helping protect.” According to LMAG’s Negi Darsses, these masks are a higher level than the cotton masks many others are producing. “Jeffery Diduch, our VP of technical design, worked very closely with the hospital on specs and materials. We’ve also made headway to secure more high-grade material to produce significantly more masks for institutions in need.” Adds Jarrod Weber of Authentic Brands, “This is an important initiative for our industry to help our country; we’re fortunate to have skilled partners who can recognize where help is needed.”

Sal Giardina reports that the Blujacket factory is now making masks. What’s more, a former FIT student of his, Linh Nguyen Manh, is producing 500,000 masks per day in one of his 12 Vietnam factories. (The company has 16,000 employees and produces apparel for major brands including Nike and Adidas.) As Nguyen explained on a recent CNBC news broadcast, noticing that some of his own operators were unable to find masks, the company created an all-purpose reusable mask using nano-treated fabric that blocks bacteria and can be washed 30 times. They’ve already shipped 2 million of them, and expect to ship another 4 million.

Greg Shugar, CEO & Creative Director at Beau Ties Ltd, is also helping out. “Given my relationships in China, I’m helping import true medical masks (KN95 now and N95 soon) to hospitals around the country. Nothing fancy – just helpful and quick. It’s beyond sad to see the shortages we’re experiencing and I’m doing what I can to help.”

Larry Davidson from Davidsons in Roanoke is also doing his share, already making and supplying masks to hospitals, doctors’ offices and local rescue missions. Scott Zahner at Zahner’s Clothiers in Connecticut is doing the same. And Terence To at Excalibur/AW Chang is working hard to temporarily transition his factories in Asia to produce hospital gowns, masks and whatever’s needed. Raffi Shaya from Raffi sent masks to China several months ago and is now making them for any groups or hospitals in need.

Fortunately, the list goes on and on. All of us at MR are prouder than ever of the generous, compassionate and skillful people in our industry.

A tailor at Davidsons in Roanoke making masks to CDC specifications


  1. Just AWESOME.
    Thank you from your grateful community; the community of mankind!

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