Fashion designer Christian Siriano was awarded a funding grant by the New York government that will allow his company to produce more protective gear. His company, CJ designs, is one of the 12 companies chosen by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo announced a plan to award a total of $6.9 million in incentives to companies that will continue to produce protective gear. Of the grant, Siriano’s company will receive $352,590.
Since March, the 2007 "Project Runway" winner has stepped up his game in creating protective gear. It is something that the designer finds useful in the fight against the deadly virus.
Cuomo's announcement to fund the chosen companies was his way of preparing for a possible “second wave” of the coronavirus. The companies, the official said, will help address supply chain issues that can lead to overpricing.
The government’s coordination with these private companies will also help increase their manufacturing capacity. This will help create jobs and more market opportunities.
By supporting local companies, Cuomo said they will be in a “better position” and that they can secure life-saving items quickly and at reasonable prices.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during his 2017 speaking engagement in a hotel in new York City. | Photo: Getty Images
In March, at least 20 New York-based companies were tapped to produce safety gear. Cuomo asked them to create supplies critical to COVID-19. At least $4 million worth of funds were granted to these companies.
Cuomo said Siriano extended assistance to the government by having his company invest $600,000 in the project. On Instagram, the 34-year-old fashion designer thanked the government for the fund grant. For his part, the governor replied:
"Thank you for everything you’ve done for New York!"
The popular fashion designer’s decision to help produce face masks came when he was watching TV at home. Siriano's team of seamstresses was idled since the pandemic started.
The "Ugly Betty" guest star tweeted the government’s office and after 39 minutes, the government tweeted him back saying they needed his assistance. Siriano said:
"That day, all [Cuomo] kept saying was, ‘We’re really low on supplies’. And I thought, well, we can make things."
His quick decision to help was praised by many. For a month and a half, Siriano converted his Manhattan atelier into a mask factory to provide much-needed protection equipment to New York’s frontline workers.
He emphasized that everything they do was purely voluntary. Around 20 people showed up in his office after he sent out a plan - they are his cutters, sewers, designers, even the building’s doorman.
Siriano and his team strictly followed social distancing; proper sanitation such as frequent washing of hands; and put facemasks on. All of his staff were provided with private transportation to and from the office.
2020 Emmy-nominated Actor Brad Pitt. | Photo: Getty Images
Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt, meanwhile, recently expressed his admiration of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for the latter's leadership in the fight against COVID-19. After impersonating the physician on SNL, the actor expressed his gratitude to him.
The doctor in return said in an interview that Pitt “did a great job” of impersonating him. Pitt’s three-minute performance earned him an Emmy nomination.