Garment District for Gowns: Covid-19 Support Fund


COVID-19 has now afflicted more people in the United States than in any other country in the world. Each day, more people become infected and our hospitals face new challenges handling mounting patient inflows. New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic, with Governor Cuomo predicting the apex of hospitalizations to occur in 2-3 weeks’ time.

Healthcare workers worldwide are taking enormous risks on behalf of us all. In Italy, this segment represents more than 10% of Coronavirus cases, given its proximity to sick patients. And it’s become a well-known fact that Italy’s healthcare system has more hospital beds per 1,000 people than the United States, putting pressure on an already strained healthcare system.

New York City hospitals are already in dire need of more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect their staff and mitigate further spread of the disease. They’re especially hurting for masks and gowns. Fortunately, we can help - but we must act now.

To accelerate this effort, we have launched the COVID-19 Support Fund to help finance and scale the manufacturing of medical gowns, beginning with healthcare workers in New York City.


Who are we?

We are a group of independent professionals in the fashion industry, with training and experience working for brands such as Ralph Lauren, Dior, Marchesa, The Row, Vera Wang, Ralph Rucci, and Oscar de la Renta. We are designers, product developers, pattern makers, and sewers, and we’re strengthened by our relationships with factories in New York City’s Garment District. 

We have assembled our skills and resources to help supply healthcare workers with an essential piece of protection needed on the front lines. Within our first week of launching, we have already self-financed our first batch of 300 gowns to be donated April 2, and began manufacturing of an additional 1050+ gowns. We have stayed in close contact with Governor Cuomo’s office representatives, the FDA, NY State Department of Health, Tri-State area hospitals, fire departments, and ambulance departments to coordinate on distribution. We need your help to continue making more gowns and scale fast.

First milestone: The first batch of gowns will be delivered on April 2nd to Mount Sinai Hospital, Jersey City Medical Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center,  and the NY State Department of Health

Second milestone: The second batch of gowns will be delivered on or before April 9 to the Atlantic Health System, Manhasset Ambulance Department, Jersey City Medical Center, Eighth Batallion Fire Department of Nassau County, and the NY State Department of Health


Our team is already able to source the appropriate fabrics needed to make medical gowns that meet the rigorous standards of the healthcare community. Unlike face masks, which require FDA-approved filters that are harder to come by in this moment of crisis, medical gowns are made of high performance fabrics, which we are versed in handling and feel confident we can produce in batch quantities. However, sufficient funding is needed to maintain our output.
Pictured above: Nurses at Mount Sinai West wear trash bags when left with no better alternative for protective gear, according to the NY Post . 


On March 27th, Gov. Cuomo laid out the state’s current medical supply stockpile, against anticipated quantities needed ahead of the virus’ peak (see Figure 1). NY state currently has 15,000 gowns on hand, with another 145,000 expected from the federal government. The state needs a total of 20 million gowns in three weeks to adequately protect healthcare workers from the virus.

46958436_1585429973888425_r.jpegFigure 1: Slide depiction of Gov. Cuomo’s statewide equipment needs, reported by .


The main fabric is an extra strength DWR coated (Durable Water Repellent) ripstop nylon, with a breathable polyurethane coating.  It was originally manufactured for military use in the Afghan War.

The cuffs are made of organic cotton jersey knit (eco friendly OEKO-TEX), and ensure a secure and sealed fit at the wrist.

The pattern is worn with an opening in the back, like standard medical gowns. Medical workers put them on arms-first, then tie around the waist and back of the neck. Waist ties are long enough to tie in the back or front, aiding in quick application and removal. (See early-stage prototype in Figure 3)

The sewers are volunteers from our own professional networks, as well as other incredible individuals who saw the announcements we put out and stepped up. Each one of our sewers receives their cutwork in a premade kit, which includes : 
> Cutwork for x-amount of gowns
> Thread
> Latex gloves to use while sewing the gowns, and instructions to wear a mask as they sew
> Instructions to clean their station with bleach before and after they sew
> An extra bag to return their finished gowns in

The logistics:
> Rolls of our fabric are transferred from supplier to driver, both wearing masks and gloves.
> Cutting room is sterilized and all pattern work is performed with masks and gloves
> Cutwork and sewing/ safety supplies are sprayed with disinfectant before being bagged, while wearing masks and gloves.
> A member of our team delivers the bag to the sewer without physical contact
> Sewer disinfects workspaces with bleach prior to sewing, and wears a mask and gloves while working. 
> Should sewer step away from the project midway, they are instructed to place the garment in its respective bag until returning. Sewing area will then be re-sterilized.
> Once the gown is complete, sewer puts finished product in a new bag that a member of our team will pick up, maintaining six feet of separation from one another.
> Gowns are then brought to a sterilization facility for added safety

46958436_1585811818498135_r.jpegFigure 2: See above photos of one our finished gowns.

46958436_158543024383653_r.jpegFigure 3: See above pictures of an early-stage prototype of our gown in a sub-fabric.


Rachel Rothenberg-Saenz is a graduate of Parsons School of Design who most recently works as Head of Product Design & Development for Oscar de la Renta. Previously, she has worked in both design and development capacities at Ralph Lauren, The Row, and Ralph Rucci. 

Alex Baylis is a graduate of Central Saint Martins University in London, who most recently works as Senior Knitwear Designer for Oscar de la Renta. Previously, she has worked at Dior, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang.

Amy Tiefermann is a graduate of Kent State University in Ohio, who most recently works as a Patternmaker for Oscar de la Renta. Previously, she has worked at Marchesa and Werkstatt.

Fernanda Camoes Esteve is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and Fundaçao Armando Alvares Pentedo, who most recently works as a Designer at Oscar de la Renta. Previously, she has worked as a Textile Designer at Carolina Herrera.


We will be posting stories & photos of our donations, hospitals and healthcare workers you are helping on our Instagram @garmentdistrictforgowns 


> Secured fabric for 2150+ gowns
> Secured factories in the Garment District ready to help
> Secured a team of 30+ volunteer sewers
> Built contacts with hospitals, state representatives, and the FDA to securely guide donations
> Completed 300 gowns to be donated April 2nd
> Started manufacturing of 1050+ additional gowns


100% of the funds will go directly to financing the production of our gowns and other urgent PPE for frontline healthcare workers at New York City’s largest hospitals. No one on the team will benefit financially in any way from this campaign. 
We are committed to ensuring that our suppliers provide us with the most competitive rates available for medical-grade gowns, so that the value of each dollar we raise is maximized. Should we raise excess funds and supplies, we hope to expand our donations to other hospitals in need.


Are donations tax deductible? 

Currently, donations are not tax-deductible. We are in a process of filing a 501(c)(3) charity and will update our status as soon as possible.

Aside from donations, how can you help? 

We are seeking:
> Garment District factories
> Experienced volunteer sewers
> Thread donations (sewing supply stores are currently closed as they are “non-essential,” and thread online orders do not arrive quickly enough)
> Fabric donations (subject to close scrutiny)
> Company partnerships for services or goods in need (for example, Ziploc has generously supplied us with cartons of bags to pack each individual gown in)

What’s next?

NY has been hit the hardest and first within the United States, however statistics show that COVID-19 will soon affect the rest of the country in a similar fashion. While we are taking care of our own state first (as the need is most dire right here, right now), we plan to expand our efforts nationwide as funding and supplies allow.


Instagram:  @GarmentDistrictForGowns 
Facebook: Facebook Page 

Donations ()

  • Kim Gindhart 
    • $25 
    • 7 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 8 d
  • Janet O Toole 
    • $50 
    • 8 d
  • Janet Cordingley 
    • $25 
    • 11 d
  • josie shiff 
    • $100 
    • 11 d
See all

Fundraising team: Équipe de collecte de fonds (3)

Rachel Rothenberg 
Raised $34,886 from 358 donations
New York, NY
Garment District For Gowns 
Amy Tiefermann 
Team member
Raised $100 from 1 donation
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