Cotton LEADS Partners Fight COVID-19 by Making Masks
April 22, 2020

Cotton LEADSsm Partners Make Masks

Cotton LEADS partners make masks to help health care workers stay safe while treating patients with COVID-19.

Cotton LEADS is proud to be partnered with several companies who have joined the fight in protecting those on the front lines in the medical industry by converting their manufacturing outfits and dedicating time and resources to produce cotton masks. Although COVID-19 continues to spread, we are intent on prevailing together as a nation, and collaborations like this are an important piece of the puzzle.

Despite deployment of the Defense Deployment Act, the demand for masks, and the shortage of them, persists. Thanks to individuals, organizations, and companies like the ones below, the gap between the supply and the demand closes a little more each day.


Cotton LEADS Partners Manufacturing Masks and Providing Resources to Fight COVID-19



Although the Amana Woolen Mill has closed facilities to protect workers, they are continuing to pay their employees who are staying busy sewing masks for health care workers from home, across Eastern Iowa.



VP of Product Management & Marketing for Automation Systems at Gerber Technology (part of A&E), Lenny Marano, says, “We are proud to have a global network of partners who are going the extra mile to support PPE (personal protective equipment such as protective gowns, face masks and face shields) production  so that it’s more widely available … (and) to support those fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines.”



The company is in the process of converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing apparel to now manufacturing masks and gowns. Brooks Brothers plans to use these facilities to produce up to 150,000 masks per day to help increase access to protective gear for health care workers and others battling the spread of COVID-19.



The Duck Company has converted their t-shirt line manufacturing to help bridge the gap by making masks



Fruit of the Loom is among a group of textile and apparel companies working to produce masks for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The consortium is predicted to produce up to 6 million masks per week. Whitney Scott, the company’s Director of Communications, says Fruit of the Loom will make the masks for “as long as necessary,” and that the company will set up production areas that conform to social distancing requirements needed to slow the spread of the disease.



Gap Inc. is among several retailers who have decided to shift production away from garment-production and toward mask-production. An article by CNBC stated, “San Francisco-based Gap has a twofold plan to help get critical materials to the health-care system in the fight against COVID-19. The parent company of Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and others has built a small team with members from its different brands and functions, in conjunction with California hospitals, to use Gap’s connections in the global supply chain to get protective masks and gowns.”



HanesBrands decided to covert production of apparel to the production of cotton face masks approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use when N-95 respirator masks are not required or are unavailable. Check out the Hanes for Good website to learn more.



In order to support individuals and organizations eager to join the cause and help their communities by making masks, JOANN has created free mask-making kits and made them available to all their partners and customers. They have also created tutorials and organized resources  to make the process as easy as possible.



Kontoor Brands, Inc. — a global lifestyle apparel company, with a portfolio led by two of the world’s most iconic consumer brands, Wrangler® and Lee® — announced that it has begun producing  approximately 50,000 Level 1 patient gowns and 10,000 disposable isolation gowns for clinicians to assist hospitals that are dealing with the influx of patients as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.



In addition to dedicating time and resources and reallocating materials from their dog bed liners for production of masks, L.L. Bean has already been able to leverage its global supply chain relationships to secure more than a million masks for local hospitals. The Sun Journal writes that L.L. Bean has “… plans (to make) as many as 10,000 (masks) a day.”



Parkdale Mills is part of a textile trade group that is working together to provide masks to  workers. The textile trade group estimated that within four to five weeks, the group of companies could produce 10 million masks per week between their plants in the United States and Central America.



Standard Textile Co., Inc., a leading global manufacturer of healthcare and hospitality products, has restructured its supply chain to provide support for America’s frontline medical workers during the current pandemic. For weeks, the company has been leading an urgent charge to increase production of PPE in order to provide hospitals and health care workers in the United States with additional protection against COVID-19.



U.S. cotton non-profit organization Supima recently launched its #SupimaStrong COVID-19 Relief Project to benefit and give back to the community. Supima has donated hundreds of yards of its own fabric to its Supima Design Competition alumni network – which includes designers and design students from across the U.S. – for the purpose of creating homemade masks for medical personnel.



On top of Target’s previous donations of anti-viral and N95 respirator masks to first responders and health care professionals at more than 50 organizations across the country, the company also donated an additional 2 million KN95 respirator masks to the medical community.


U.S. manufacturer, Thomaston Mills has bed sheets and fabric for face masks in stock for hospitals and health centers during the COVID-19 crisis. The company’s workforce is following CDC guidelines and is prepared with strategies to quickly ship product.


Cotton Incorporated is working hard to do its part alongside its partners. Get updates by following their news at LinkedIn. 


If you’re a Cotton LEADS partner contributing to the fight against COVID-19  and belong on this list, contact us  to let us know!


The work we do is possible because of collaborations with researchers and stakeholders like those involved with the Plastic Leak Project and partnerships with people all throughout the value chain. Ready to commit to sustainably produced cotton? Become a Cotton LEADS partner today. Interested in doing even more? Contact us for ideas to get the most out of sustainable cotton and your partnership with Cotton LEADS. 

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