Our Response to COVID-19
In mid-March of this year, when COVID-19 was impacting South Korea and spreading across the globe, SwatchOn asked our partners in the textile industry a question that was very different from our usual fashion focus:
SwatchOn received an incredible response, so we:
- Edited the enormous selection of optimal fabrics for masks and medical wear
- Assembled all necessary components into easy-access ‘kits’
- Reduced prices to wholesale for mask materials (eliminating our profit margin)
- Provided free downloadable patterns for masks
- Calculated the per-item material cost so designers could budget per-mask costs
We then created the following intuitive, click-to-buy resource for our worldwide community, including a FAQ for those in need of more info:
We then mobilized YOU, our network of thousands of amazing fashion designers around the globe, to consider creating masks hyper-locally, for your communities. Not only did you surpass our expectations – see our real-time counter showing total masks made from materials shipped to-date! – but many of you created masks for other regions, sending your creations, made by hand and heart, out to places in need.
So far, we have shipped mask materials to designers in 25 countries and counting!
We are honored and humbled to have played a part in your efforts, and will continue to support you by pledging to maintain full wholesale pricing for mask materials until COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
United States, Canada, Germany, France
and 22 other countries.
Frequently Asked Questions
YES. While they are not direct substitutes for N95 surgical or procedural masks, these filter/surgical masks do offer a significant degree of protection against droplets with COVID-19, and should help reduce person-to-person droplet transmission of the virus.
On April 3, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) began officially recommending to wear “cloth face coverings” in public, to reduce community-based transmission of COVID-19.
“CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
Several countries outside the United States had also already mandated this as well. For Designers based in the U.S. The CDC’s full recommendations are here for reference.
As an additional resource on homemade masks, also see: Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?
No. The masks we have outlined here are not medical grade masks and do not replace N95 masks. However, as noted on the website GetusPPE.org:
“The Center for Disease Control notes that fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies are not available. N95 masks are in short supply, and people who don’t need them are using them. Surgical masks can serve lighter duty uses. Fabric face masks are best used to protect existing N95s and surgical masks.”
Depending where you live, and what’s needed at hospitals in your community, this answer can vary.
Please contact your local hospitals to find out what masks they will accept. As an overview, here is who masks can be created for:
- For first responders and front line medical staff : At minimum, when there is a shortage, fabric masks can be used by doctors and nurses on our front lines to protect existing N95s and surgical masks, so that necessary protection can last longer.
- For other healthcare staff, and those in essential services : Masks can be used by healthcare workers who are not working directly with COVID-19 patients, but who are in and around hospitals and need protections. And, for everyone in essential services such as grocery clerks and delivery people who are in high-exposure situations.
- For you and your community : Depending where you live and what the directives are around wearing masks in public, you can make these masks for those in your community – especially the elderly and those with compromised health.