The Fashion Department from the Faculty of Art and Design (FSSR), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Shah Alam, Malaysia took a proactive measure to fulfill the high demand from many hospitals and clinics in the vicinity to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) beginning 13 March 2020. Creating a row of network lines with fashion students, alumni, local tailors and clothing factories, the Department managed to produce 6500 pieces of PPE sets within three weeks. These were successfully distributed to hospitals nation-wide such as Hospital Shah Alam, Hospital Selayang, UiTM Hospital, and UiTM Health Centre (Pusat Kesihatan UiTM), Hospital Permai Johor Baharu, and few other hospitals.
Generally, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) sets include headcover, isolation gown, boot cover, and overall suits which are most needed by front liners. To produce a large quantity of PPE sets, substantial manpower is needed as each set has to be sewn individually. Some modifications were made to the universal PPE set design taking into account the availability of resources such as the workplace, time, and sewing process.
Due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) by the Malaysian Government, the team came out with an innovative idea by reaching out to tailors and alumni to be part of the volunteer work. Two main levels of working lines were immediately set-out for this project. The first level of the working line constituted ten lecturers who volunteered from the Department of Fashion, FSSR, who focused on mass-fabric cutting and sampling of the PPE sets before sending them to the second level working lines. As the department had the appropriate workshop and tools for the job, all materials for PPE were sent to the FSSR workshop for cutting and sampling processes.
Special materials that were non-woven and water-resistant were used in the making of the PPE sets which include headcover, isolation gown, and boot cover. The second level of working line involved all the volunteer tailors, fashion students, and alumni living around Klang valley who were committed to helping the department deliver the cut pieces to the identified tailors.
Due to the increasing awareness and the rising demand for PPE sets, many fashion institutions, and industries in Malaysia, have increasingly come forward to show their support and solidarity by producing the PPE sets at their home-grounds, while other companies showed their support by contributing raw materials for institutions to perform the sewing process.
The team thanks all volunteers especially lecturers and administrative staff from FSSR, fashion students, tailors who volunteered, UiTM Alumni, FGS sewing team, boutique and clothing factories, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and not forgetting all riders’ services who have supported UiTM FSSR with full commitment.