Local luxury accessory brand Piper & Skye announced yesterday that it has employed more than 30 sewists to begin manufacturing non-medical grade masks to be distributed to shelters across Canada.
The Toronto brand is known for creating handbags with a lower carbon footprint than traditional leather handbags. The company has an environmental focus and uses a sustainable supply chain as well as ethically and responsibly sourced materials.
Piper & Skye has teamed up with Heather Shaw of Edmonton-based Sew Here’s The Thing, an organization that brings together philanthropists and makers to provide handmade items for those in need.
The masks will be produced by home-based sewists, many of whom were put out of work by the pandemic. They will be provided with instructional materials and patterns in accordance with the Deaconess Medical Center guidelines for mask production including cotton, filters and elastic bands.
“This pandemic has hit our global economy hard and as unemployment rates rise, I started to notice friends and family struggling with the uncertainty,” says Joanna MacDonald, founder of Piper & Skye. “I’m providing opportunities to those Canadians with the skillset to make tangible protective necessities for the communities going largely unseen right now, and augmenting the need for masks across the country.”
Once the masks are produced, they will be distributed to shelters including Aurora House in Toronto and Assaulted Women’s Helpline and their associated shelters in Ontario, as well as other organizations in need of protection for staff and clients.
“All too often, when crisis strikes it affects the most vulnerable the hardest. Thus, we are trying to support those frontline workers and vulnerable people hiding in the shadows of society that typically go unnoticed, by protecting those who do not have the luxury of coming home to a roof over their heads,” says MacDonald. “I hope this will help deter the spread in these shelters.”
In addition to this initiative, Piper & Skye is also donating 20 per cent of its net proceeds from all purchases to support the production of masks.