A month ago we would have used this space to formally announce SI Swimsuit’s new swimwear partnership with Venus Fashion. Now, instead of promoting our upcoming line, we’d like to talk about how our partner has quickly converted its Jacksonville, Fla. factory to produce masks and hospital gowns for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus battle. Honestly, we’re even more proud to announce the latter.
We take great pride in the type of partners our brand attracts so when Venus executives, Pamela Kimball and Carolyn Nolte, stepped up and met the call to action to help our struggling medical institutions, we were thrilled but not in the least surprised.
Mere hours later, Venus had devoted lines in its manufacturing facilities to producing masks and gowns for local hospitals in Florida and New Jersey that are in critical need. Within days, they have made over 2,000 masks and are intent on continuing their contribution. They are actively pursuing the best practices to help source materials and produce desperately needed supplies for institutions experiencing critical shortages as a result of the pandemic.
Fashion brands across the globe are taking this same initiative. Designer, Christian Siriano, was one of the first to pledge his resources and his team has been producing roughly 800 masks a day. Project Runway star, Michael Costello, has followed suit and additionally noted the layers of good this project is doing. With the help of donations, he has been able to keep his seamstresses working and hopeful.
The call to action we have posted on our social media platforms has received an outpouring of support from friends and colleagues throughout the fashion landscape. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models included. Myla Dalbesio has been working tirelessly for weeks to create masks and inspire her community to do the same. Earlier this week, 2019 cover model Camille Kostek and her boyfriend, Rob Gronkowski, donated 20,000 masks to the cause. Small designers, individuals and fans have dusted off their sewing machines and enthusiastically embraced #stayinandsew. With every mask made, lives are being protected, if not saved. We continue to challenge our industry and individuals to rise to this occasion, to tap into their resources, connections and skills and help in any way they can.
One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, we look forward to sharing our other collaboration with Venus with you. Today we are uplifted by this partnership in ways we couldn’t have predicted and hope that it encourages other brands and companies to follow suit. We all have power and we can all use that power for the common good.