sewing face mask

Toronto clothing designers are sewing face masks to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic

As government and health officials continue to do everything in their power to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, several Toronto clothing designers are pitching in and making much needed face masks. 

One local designer who's committed to making as many masks as possible is Hilary MacMillan, who owns a cruelty-free size-inclusive womenswear brand in Toronto.

MacMillan announced today that her company would be shifting manufacturing capabilities to produce 100 non-medical masks each week for front line workers in Ontario.

The masks will be donated to shelters, charities, grocery store employees, elderly homes and anyone else in need. 

sewing face mask"We saw an overwhelming number of news articles in the developing weeks which drew attention to the shortages of PPE [personal protective equipment]," MacMillan said. 

"As a result, 'non-essential' medical practises were being asked to donate their supplies to front lines. Being a women’s clothing brand we looked at our capabilities and said, 'What can we do in this time of need?'"

MacMillan said they've already had an outpouring of requests since announcing their plan to make masks, and they intend to send the first batches to Michael Garron HospitalSeamless Care Pharmacy and The Humane Society

"We are currently looking at striking a balance between our regular business activities, which is producing womenswear, and scaling up to meet community need. This is obviously a new challenge for us as we navigate social distancing and the work-from-home set up," she said, adding that they'll "continue to produce as long as there is need."

MacMillion says anyone in need of masks can email their request to info@hilarymacmillan.com

sewing face maskThere's no question that this company's decision to step up and help produce masks for front line workers in Toronto is admirable and impressive, and fortunately they're not the only ones doing it.

Other local designers, such as Diana Von Grüning, are also making masks and donating them at no cost. 

And local brand Brain on Plants is sewing their own face masks and selling them to the general public, with all profits being put towards subsidizing their initiative to get as many masks to front line workers as possible. 

"These are intended for personal use," the company wrote on Instagram. "By producing our own masks we are helping to decrease the demand on limited supplies of professional medical-grade single use masks, which are desperately needed by hospitals and nursing homes.⁣"

Toronto-based intimates brand Knix is also leveraging its supply chain to secure 100,000 PPE units for healthcare workers in Canada. 

So while Toronto's healthcare system braces itself for a PPE shortage, it's clear that many local businesses in the city will do everything they can to help front line workers stay protected amid this global health crisis. 

Photos by

Hilary MacMillan


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