Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at his daily coronavirus press briefing on Thursday night unveiled a partnership with clothing brand Reformation to organize the city’s garment manufacturers to make protective masks.
The L.A. Protects initiative will leverage the city’s manufacturing facilities and garment workers not to make the medical-grade N95 masks so desperately needed by health-care workers, but rather protective masks for other essential workers on the front lines, including grocery clerks and food delivery people.
Reformation has been deputized to recruit and organize other L.A. garment and apparel producers to supply materials and support manufacturing the protective equipment at scale. It will lend expertise in garment and apparel production, providing quality assurance checks and building out funding and support for the initiative through sales to essential businesses.
The goal is to produce five million masks, Garcetti said, adding that manufacturers interested in participating, and businesses in need of protective masks, can go to laprotects.org for more information. The web site has also open-sourced specs on how to make the masks and safety information for manufacturing.
“Angelenos step up and we’re so grateful to Reformation,” he added, noting that the initiative will help get some people back to work, including many lower-income immigrants in the garment industry, as long as they are practicing safe social distancing and working six feet apart.
L.A. is the largest garment manufacturing center in the U.S. with more than 45,000 workers. Reformation is a sustainable, vertically integrated L.A. women’s clothing brand based in downtown Los Angeles with its own factories and more than 300 employees, some of whom will be working on the initiative. It was founded in 2009 by former model Yael Aflalo, who in 2019 sold a majority stake to Permira Funds.
Reformation will have nonmedical masks available for purchase on its web site, with the option to also buy and donate them. It joins a growing number of fashion and beauty brands fighting COVID-19 by making masks, hand sanitizer, hospital gowns and donating other supplies and funds, including Crocs, Eddie Bauer, the Estée Lauder Cos., Gucci and Ralph Lauren.