Christian Siriano Granted New York State Funding to Make PPE for Nonmedical Public Service Workers
Early on at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March, Siriano, 34, became the first fashion designer to step up and announce he would be using his manufacturing resources to create protective masks for frontline workers. Now, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to award a total of $6.9 million in incentives to companies to continue making equipment, Siriano's fashion firm was one of the 12 selected.
Per Cuomo's announcement, one of Siriano's companies, CJ Designs, is receiving $352,590, according to a report from Women's Wear Daily. The money will be put towards manufacturing more face masks for nonmedical public service employees as the state prepares for a potential second wave of coronavirus in the fall.
"Siriano quickly changed the scope of his high fashion Manhattan design and manufacturing studio to provide proper face coverings for two of the larger public employers in the state of New York,” the Cuomo said in a statement obtained by WWD.
“His company has invested $600,000 in this project, which allowed him to maintain his 17-person staff while promoting safety and economic recovery through the adaptation of his normal business. Christian is symbolic of great New Yorkers rising to the challenge and supporting the well-being of the larger New York State community," the governor's statement continued.
According to WWD, Siriano's CJ Designs already sent 10,000 customized uniform face masks to Buffalo, N.Y. and 7,000 to the Metro North.
After Cuomo's announcement, Siriano thanked the governor for his support. "We made so many masks, helped save lives and you helped save our employees and a small business in New York. So thank you!" the designer wrote on Instagram.
Cuomo replied in the comments saying, "Thank you for everything you’ve done for New York!"
When the supply of PPE dwindled incredibly low in March as the number of positive coronavirus cases skyrocketed in New York, Siriano volunteered his sewing team to help produce more, which led more designers jumping in to help too.
As his team got working, Siriano showed his followers the progress they were making in getting the design and fit just right for the face coverings. "We will be making a few versions of this in order to help as many people as we can. Here is the process so we can get a perfect fit. More to come thank you everyone we hope to get these to the right people ASAP," he said on Twitter.
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