More than a few local makers, ranging from the mother-daughter duo at Upcycle It Now to East Village-based yoga and healing center, Shine Your Heart Healing, are pivoting to fulltime mask-making operations. But perhaps the one person whose hands-on experience with production, not to mention a knowledge of the supply chain, best suits her to the task of making a face mask is textile worker, artist and professor, Carole Frances Lung.
Lung has been running her East Village studio practice, the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms, for the past five years as a hub for free sewing workshops and performances from her alter ego, East German garment worker and “textile superhero” Frau Fiber, who casts a critical look at the global garment industry.
So, it was no surprise that Lung’s focus has landed on not only pointing out how the medical supply chain has failed its workers in producing proper face masks, but that she actually makes the masks herself to provide to local shelters.
And she was happy to show us—and you—how, through the lens of Frau Fiber.
With her 15 years of experience working in the garment industry and an additional decade of combating the human cost of it, Lung predicted weeks ago that masks would quickly become an accepted fashion accessory, as it already is in parts of Asia.
The Cal State Los Angeles Fashion Fiber and Materials associate professor also stressed it’s a luxury to have the supplies and the tools to be able to make masks, but recommended that anyone without a sewing machine should check out DIY tutorials on YouTube, there’s also a list of resources on the ILGWU’s website, Sewing Rebellion.
But any cloth-type mask will do. Just make sure to wash it after every use, Lung said. And if you hand wash a mask, make sure to use hot, soapy water, and even let it soak for a little while.
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