By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
Weddings have been put on hold because of the coronavirus 19 disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine, but that did not stop some of the country’s most renowned wedding designers from going to their offices and working.
This time, however, the designers are not churning out pieces for brides to walk down the aisle in. Instead, they are producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for the country’s frontline workers who have been risking their lives just to provide care and support for the victims of COVID-19.
Young designer Michael Leyva, who has dressed the likes of Anne Curtis, Senator Loren Legarda, Kris Aquino, and Charo Santos Concio, has turned his workshop into a sea of green waterproof fabrics as he personally cut and sewed the PPE suits.
“We are one with this,” he said in an Instagram post dated March 24. “#teammichaelleyva will be donating PPEs, head covers and masks for our heroes #frontliners. MABUHAY po kayo at Salamat as dedikasyon at pagmamahal as ating bayan (Long may you live and thank you for your dedication and love for country). This wouldn’t have been possible without my team’s dedication and willingness to help. Special thanks to @lineamoderna #bayanihan.”
The following day, Leyva was accompanied by actress Angel Locsin in the distribution of the PPE suits, which were thoughtfully wrapped in personalized paper bags with special messages.
“Dearest #Frontliners, Mabuhay po kayo at maraming salamat as malasakit (Long may you live and thank you so much for your concern). Love, #teamMichaelLeyva,” the message read. Each message also carries a Bible verse.
Leyva chose to highlight on his social media account the verse Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Sent over our first sets of PPEs for our heroes #frontliners with our hero #Darna herself @therealangellocsin. I decided to put Bible verses and words of encouragement to uplift their day,” he then said in a post dated March 25.
Meanwhile, fellow wedding gown designer Patty Ang is known for her clean and bold silhouettes. Her highly-covetable ready-to-wear pieces have even been worn by the likes of American model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen, British-Filipino model Maggie Wilson-Consunji, and actress Sarah Lahbati.
But this time, Ang is using her resources and skills to create PPEs. She even posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing their first finished product.
“First one done! In light of recent events, we heartfully decided to somewhat continue making garments, not to only clothe people but more importantly to protect them. As part of our role to help our country, we at @atelierpattyang will conduct all efforts to create PPEs to help our dear front liners. Mag tulungan po tayo, kaya natin to (Let us help each other, we can do this!)” the post on March 25 read.
Pampanga-born designer Mak Tumang, most popularly known for the Ibong Adarna gown he created for Miss Universe 2018 winner Catriona Gray, is likewise doing his part to help the country’s frontliners.
On his Instagram page, he posted a call for donations for the purchase of 40,000 PPE sets. Tumang said he has already accomplished half of his goal, and he is hoping that other people would pool in and help.
“Hello!!! My friends and I will be ordering Personal Protective Equipment for the use of our health workers. These suits will be donated to government hospitals whose doctors and staff are most in need,” he said.
“Each suit, which is crucial for protecting our health workers against COVID19, costs roughly P506 only. The goal is to order 40,000 sets. So far, we have raised enough for 20,000 suits but need help collecting donations for the remaining 20,000. In line with this, we would like to sincerely ask your kind heart to donate any amount that you can to help purchase the PPE. This is a great opportunity to help (and continue helping) if you haven’t already. Please let me know if you would like to donate,” Tumang added.