Tempe fashion incubator reaches PPE manufacturing milestone

Business News | 15 Jan |

The Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) announced today that partners operating within the fashion incubator during the pandemic have collaborated to make 500,000 FDA-approved, reusable, level 2 and 3 isolation gowns for medical professionals.

AZ Fashion Source, Falcon Engineering, Wulff Contracting, On Point Manufacturing and Katchina Apparel Manufacturing collaborated with FABRIC to produce the American-made and reusable isolation gowns, which can be worn and washed 100 times.

“With 500,000 gowns produced to date, the reusable gowns have kept 50,000,000 disposable gowns out of landfills,” said Sherri Barry of AZ Fashion Source and cofounder of FABRIC. “The gowns have also helped keep costs down for healthcare providers of all sizes, with a price-per-wash that is lower than a disposable gown.” 

FABRIC, a public social cooperative enterprise that works with private industry, local government and nonprofits to support apparel entrepreneurs, pivoted quickly when the pandemic hit the U.S. in March. Local donors, including the Flinn Foundation, Virginia G. Piper, Charitable Trust, Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy, Tempe Innovation Development Association, Thunderbirds Charities, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Silicon Valley Bank, PCA Skin, AZ Community Foundation, and AZ Bio, supported the effort to transform FABRIC’s space into a manufacturing hub for PPE when pandemic-related shortages were widespread. 

The ramped-up manufacturing efforts also provided hundreds of essential manufacturing jobs, and garnered a visit from President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris during their October visit to Arizona.

Proceeds from the gown sales made by AZ Fashion Source at the fashion incubator have been donated back to FABRIC Tempe. This new nonprofit aims to support apparel entrepreneurs with equipment, training, guidance, industry resources and access to no-minimum manufacturing.

Angela Johnson, a co-founder of FABRIC and FABRIC Tempe, says that with the manufacturing pivot, there is now even more opportunity to help meet the mission. 

“Because of our generous donors, we believe that FABRIC Tempe will help establish Arizona as a modern fashion industry capital,” says Johnson. “Leveraging a technology-based, sustainable, closed loop ecosystem that attracts and supports direct-to-consumer apparel brands, apparel entrepreneurs will have incredible opportunities to create, manufacture and grow their dreams.”

For more information, visit FABRICTempe.com.

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