MONTREAL, April 16, 2020 /CNW/ – Birks and designer Izzy Camilleri are joining forces to supply masks to Canadian hospitals through a one for one program for all masks sold. When the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly evolved into business closures and shelter in place directives, all projects for Izzy Camilleri, a Toronto-based fashion designer providing wardrobe for the film and television industry, came to a sudden halt. Camilleri, who also runs IZ Adaptive, a global online business that designs clothing catering to people with physical disabilities, was forced to ask her staff to go on temporary leave.
As the health crisis continued to evolve and the shortage of masks became urgent, Camilleri felt compelled to act. Practicing social distancing and observing recommended health protocols, Izzy and several of her staff volunteered their time and headed back to her production studio to begin making masks to donate to hospitals. “We had fabric available that met the safety protocols and wanted to do what we could to help,” says Camilleri.
When Birks heard about this initiative, they immediately came on board to support Izzy’s efforts. “Since Birks was established in Montreal in 1879, we have been a part of Canadian’s lives in both moments of celebration and in challenging times,” said Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and CEO of Maison Birks. “From supporting soldiers and their families during times of global conflict to providing funding for medical research, Birks’ commitment to the community is woven into the historical fabric of the company.” Birks also recently launched a fundraising initiative to support the Montreal General Hospital Foundation where Bédos sits on the board.
While Camilleri continues to sew and donate masks for hospitals, she is now also creating masks for consumers including child-sized masks and masks adapted for people with physical disabilities. For every mask sold*, Birks and Camilleri have established a one for one program which will donate a second mask to a hospital. “People wearing masks when they leave their homes offers mutual protection that can significantly reduce the number of individuals exposed”, adds Bédos. “The challenge is a shortage of masks available to consumers. By teaming up with Izzy we are able to provide masks for hospitals and protect our community.”
The eco friendly, washable fabric masks are made from a densely woven poly cotton and spandex blend following the protocol established for consumer use. They can be machine washed in cold water and tumbled dry on low heat. Masks are $15 and can be purchased online at www.izadaptive.com. “We are proud to partner with Izzy to support an initiative that provides effective personal protection and is environmentally friendly, reusable and cost effective,” adds Bédos.
Birks and Camilleri are encouraging mask purchasers to show their support and tag #Masks4All.