Coronavirus News: Brooklyn fashion brands pivot focus to surgical gowns during COVID-19 pandemic

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The fashion industry is coming together in NYC to make hospital gowns for those working on the COVID-19 front lines.

The racks of swimsuits and clothing are taking a back seat at the Malia Mills factory in Brooklyn.

The designer is now pitching in with the city and the nonprofit Course of Trade to make thousands of hospital gowns for health care workers.

Malia Mills is one of dozens of Brooklyn-based brands working together in the effort to make 65,000 gowns each week.

The city is providing the materials and paying the factories for their work.

"A week ago, in some cases, their staff has been laid off and their factories were dormant, today they're operating at full capacity," said President of NYC Economic Development Corporation James Patchett.

Cynthia McDonald is a seamstress who lost her job, but Thursday was her first day at Malia Mills.

"I really wanted to be a part of preventing other people from getting it," McDonald said.

Nearly 4,000 gowns will be made every single week at Malia Mills -- so far about half a dozen people are making them and they're looking for more people.

"We have lots of work to get done, so we're hiring for a few more people here, time is of the essence, we can use them," said Malia Mills' production director Libby Mattern.

Any bit of help goes a long way at a time when New Yorkers come together.

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