Texas Tech University

Apparel Design Students and Faculty Construct Masks for Healthcare Workers and Community

Ashley Brister

May 1, 2020

Department of Design donates fabric masks sewed by students and faculty

Department of Design donates fabric masks sewed by students and faculty

As the need for personal protection equipment (PPE) rose, so did the need for alternative methods of PPE production. When masks around the Lubbock community quickly became hard to come by, Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) students and faculty in the Department of Design worked together to sew fabric masks and donate them to the local community.

Assistant Professor Rachel Anderson and Instructor Laura Haynie proposed the idea to Department Chair, Sharran Parkinson, Ph.D., who quickly agreed. Apparel Design and Manufacturing faculty and student assistants worked remotely to sew masks at their homes.

"I've been working on getting information out to the public and answering the vast amount of inquiries on how to sew them from TTU faculty and the general public," Rachel said. "As our studios and campus closed, our student assistants were able to work from home with their sewing machines. We all saw the great need for fabric masks that had been posted on the CDC website, so ADM faculty began working on the project."

ADM mask donations ttuInstructor Laura Haynie says that each mask was one of a kind, customized for each person. Local donations sites included Covenant Medical Center and additional donations for individual community members. 

"The student volunteers wanted to give the masks to people that they know and love who need masks and will appreciate that the mask was made especially for them," Laura said. "More of a designer mask rather than mass production."

Senior ADM major, Flita Fernandes, says that it feels great for her to be able to help others in need during such a challenging time.

"It makes me happy that my skill can be beneficial to others right now and it gives me great joy to be making these," Flita said.

What started as a smaller scale home-sewn project grew to something much more substantial after a generous donation by Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Personal Financial Planning, Deena Evensky.

"Both faculty and students researched different types of home-sewn fabric masks to design and construct, and each made their own choices as to how they would make them with the resources they had at home, the masks purpose or end-use, and where their masks would be donated," Rachel explained.

ADM faculty, students, and even some alumni have joined in to continue working on masks.

"Many ADM students and alumni are busy working on them at home all over the country, Rachel said. "The Department of Design and Apparel and Manufacturing program could not be more proud of our students and alumni using their design and construction skills to help others during this crisis."

"I'm honored and so happy to be able to use my fashion design skills that I learned at Texas Tech to help the healthcare community of Lubbock," said Ashlynne Tursi, senior Apparel Design and Manufacturing student. "These times are tough, but if we all work together and pitch in, we'll come out strong."

Flita TTU ADM MasksMoving forward, the students and faculty plan to continue making custom masks through the end of the spring semester.

"My experience with making these masks has been fulfilling," said Emily Clark, senior Apparel Design and Manufacturing student. "It's been great to be able to help my community during this crisis."