Health care workers wearing masks made by the designers (Photo: Facebook/HRT) Health care workers wearing masks made by the designers (Photo: Facebook/HRT)

Los Angeles, with a population of 10 million, currently has around 18 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus, which in a country approaching 1 million infections and more than 50 thousand deaths, is considered relatively good, Maras told HRT.

“Local authorities, the mayor and governor, have introduced drastic measures. They’ve declared a total quarantine and beaches and parks are closed. Wearing a mask is mandatory,” Maras said.

Her friend and collaborator, Katarina Džale, says the idea to make masks came while the two were self-isolating. With the need for personal protective equipment sky-high and producers struggling to keep up with demand, the idea was to make masks for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, health care workers and police. It was a spontaneous decision, the designers say.

“I opened a Facebook group and we got to work. It grew to over 1,100 people. We have donated more than 13 thousand masks to hospitals, police, the army, the homeless, to all those who need them,” Džale said, explaining that it was a way to help their community in this situation. Džale confesses that her talents are not in sewing but management and coordination.

The women have mobilized more than 300 volunteers for the project.

“We use 100 precent cotton, densely woven fabric. It is difficult to purchase since stores are not open and those that do sell it were not equipped to meet the high demand for this type of fabric,” she says.

Thanks to the Facebook group reaching out to people via social media, they managed to wrangle fabric donations from various sources. The donated fabric is rested outside, then washed and pressed, to ensure it is free of any virus particles.

The designers believe the pandemic will have a profound effect on society. Some jobs will die out, others will be done on-line from now on, Džale says.