Fashion Design & Merchandising program delivers protective masks to the Arlington Free Clinic

A team of Marymount fashion students and professors used its creative talents to help boost the amount of crucial personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Arlington Free Clinic.

On Monday afternoon, visiting faculty member and award-winning fashion designer William Allen delivered about 120 protective “fashion masks” that can be used by patients, volunteers, staff and visitors. These masks are made of breathable cotton and are washable and reversible, and contain a nonwoven polypropylene filter inside.

“It’s been a whole team effort, and it symbolizes how Marymount is such a mission-driven University,” Allen said, crediting Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University, with facilitating the connection between the two organizations. “With all that has been going on, we felt like we had to do something to help. This initiative proved to be a great opportunity for us to combine creativity with real-world, functional PPE that is needed by so many.”

After intensive research, Allen said the masks are about as protective as surgical masks, which have an 89 percent protective barrier against bacteria and small particles. The colorful masks will be put to use quickly at the Arlington Free Clinic, which provides free, high-quality health care to low-income, uninsured Arlington County adults through the generosity of donors and volunteers.

“We are very grateful to Marymount’s fashion students and the professors involved. The masks they provided for our patients to use when out in public are of very high quality,” explained Jody Kelly, director of clinical administration at the Arlington Free Clinic. “Not only will they help stem the spread of infection, they are very fashionable as well and will allow our patients to look stylish while staying safe!”

Faculty members teaming up for this initiative include Allen, Robin Wagner, Julia Ravindran and Latisha Winston from the Fashion Design & Merchandising program. The following 11 students also contributed their time and design skills to create the donated masks:

  • Paris Alexander
  • Angie Gamarra Becerra
  • Elfaz Biratu
  • Deonae Carter-Beale
  • Alexandra Cohen
  • Kallie Collett
  • Mina Hamodah
  • A’nnah Howard
  • Erin Pruitt
  • Caylee Shelton
  • Emily Vasquez

A similar donation of protective fashion masks is expected to be made to Inova in the near future as well.