Prabal Gurung has donated 2,000 masks to frontline workers battling the coronavirus.
The 41-year-old fashion designer announced last month he was preparing his workshop to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for New York’s doctors and nurses when America fell short of equipment.
He told Fashionista: ”When all this stuff was happening and I was reading about it in China, we started looking into masks … I feel like, when your government and administration fails, or when they’re not efficient, it’s a citizen’s job and duty to rise up to [the occasion]. I decided to reach out and get those masks.”
However, Prabal halted production when he discovered the hospitals can only accept certified masks, and instead joined forces with the COVID Foundation to deliver N95 surgical masks to New York hospitals.
He continued: ”We partnered with The COVID Foundation to bring in these 2,000 masks [with] money I put in from our foundation and myself, because I felt like we needed to do this immediately. The COVID Foundation has access to the factories in China and they’re able to get it through customs and deliver it to the hospitals.
”So we partnered with the hospitals we wanted to go [to] and joined with them. They had access to all this equipment for medical workers, and based on the success of what they’ve been doing, I felt comfortable working with them. We did it in Queens, East Harlem, Brooklyn and local clinics.”
Prabal decided to help out the hospitals as part of his Foundation, which aims to instil a greater awareness of global needs, but wanted to ensure he supported doctors and nurses ”responsibly”.
He added: ”I started my foundation almost nine years ago with a simple idea of diverting the attention I was getting into a bigger cause, and causes that needed more attention than I or my ego needed. That’s how I’ve always been; it’s just in my nature.
”I wanted to make sure that we were able to do it responsibly; I wanted to make sure the right kind of certified material was brought here and handed to the hospitals, not just put it in a stock room. That was really important to me.”