The apparel designers and entrepreneurs behind Sew Valley and Hemmer Design are answering the community’s call for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). “We are manufacturers, and people need masks, so it seemed obvious that we should use our skills to help during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Sew Valley’s Shailah Maynard.
Sew Valley is a non-profit in Cincinnati’s West End that exists to provide resources to apparel designers and entrepreneurs. Their aim is to help brands grow in a sustainable and thoughtful way by offering small batch production services, studio membership and educational workshops.
Hemmer Design is an apparel and soft goods design consultancy, having expertise in trend forecasting, product development, product design, performance material development and advanced manufacturing.
“Through this collaboration with Sew Valley, Hemmer Design is really helping to strategize, design product, source materials, coordinate sales, raise funds and coordinate partnerships,” says Jessica Hemmer, Founder and Creative Director of Hemmer Design. “This collaboration has been wonderful because we are able to create a more dynamic manufacturing ecosystem here in Cincinnati by pulling our capabilities together.”
These unique “Urban-Grade” masks are being created to help slow the spread of the virus and free-up any medical-grade masks for healthcare workers who need them. “The masks are made of double-layer cotton, with fabric ties. They are reusable, washable, and meant to be washed after use,” says Maynard.
The masks are being made by a team of 12 people, with new equipment coming in to speed the process up. “Our new assembly line of machines, supported by the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile Jr and U.S. Bank Foundation, allows for seven people to actively work on expediting mask manufacturing at once, with others behind the scenes prepping, packing and shipping,” Maynard explains. Each day, the team is hard at work producing these creative and sustainable masks for the Cincinnati community.
“My favorite part of watching our PPE initiative come to life has been seeing how quickly our team has adapted to a new form of manufacturing, as well as being able to partner with, and work with other creatives, designers, and makers in the Cincinnati community,” says Maynard. “At the end of the day, everyone has the same end goal in mind: do what you can NOW to help.”
How can you help, connect, or donate?
Those who are interested in joining the volunteer list to help sew or making a monetary donation to keep the Sew Valley + Hemmer Design operation going can visit their website at https://sewvalley.org/svppe