On March 22, I learned that there was a need for face masks and that nursing homes were particularly hard hit by the virus. I immediately went into full production making non-surgical masks and started delivering them to two local nursing homes when it dawned on me, that if I was moved to action, so might thousands of our UoF subscribers. I was right!
Through a shout-out on our UoF social media channels, I announced a face mask contest (one year free all access to the UoF library) and immediately started getting responses. What really freaked me out was how many of these beautiful people had already been making masks and donating hundreds of them to hospitals, nursing homes, supermarkets and making them for friends and family to help keep their neighborhoods safe from the virus’s spread. I was literally brought to tears!
These incredible mask makers hail from countries all around the world, Ecuador, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico, Los Angeles, New York City, Cleveland and Pulaski, Tennessee. Our contest rules were that we would choose five winners but, you know what? They were all worthy!
Needless to say, each of these lovely ladies were thrilled when they learned that they now had full access to UoF for a whole year. Here’s their story, in their own words. Feast your eyes on their unique mask creations.
MEET JENNIFER COFFMAN
“My name is Jennifer. I’ve been making masks since March and donating them to local organizations in Pulaski, TN, and Huntsville AL. I’ve donated to local nursing homes, hospitals, health care facilities, shopping centers and friends. I’ve donated 225 masks between March and April. I’ve used cotton fabrics from my own collection of fabric, and I’ve purchased some cotton from a local quilting shop to help support her business. I would love to win the contest to work towards perfecting my dressmaking skills and my goals of being a professional dress maker.”
“The pictures of the two ladies are the therapists that work in the clinic. They shared this photo on their Facebook page thanking me. I’m really excited to study the UoF classes. I can sew from patterns but I’m excited to learn to drape and draft my own designs and learn to draw my ideas on the croquis! Huge Thank you!! I will be happy to share the skills I’ve learned from the courses and promote University of Fashion!!”
MEET CRISTIANE HUSING
“My inspiration comes from the rainforests of the Amazon & Pantanal, where I grew up. From the age of eight I spent hours drawing and designing clothes with shapes & patterns from the exotic nature around me.
I am now a mother of two, living and working in Germany for the past 20 years. Being a mum, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to a fashion school, but I have attended a part-time atelier course here in Hamburg. From my basement, with two sewing machines, I bring my designs to life – there is nothing more I love right now!
After lockdown I wanted to do my bit to help, so I designed and made a few masks for friends and family. The reaction was quite unbelievable, and people started asking for more! After that my machine has been going non-stop and I can’t keep up with demand! It makes me so happy to help people and for the first time in my life make a little money doing what I love!”
MEET HOPE NJUBIGBO
“Hello. My name is Hope. An upcoming fashion designer in Nigeria. I have been producing my face masks and distributing to my neighborhood, also to my family and friends to ensure everyone is being safe. I also supplied to my mum’s supermarket to share out to others too. I derive so much joy knowing I am able to do this. My face mask is made from cotton material very breathable and also with an inner filter.
I will be glad if I am able to win the subscription as I have been wishing to learn from UoF but haven’t been able to afford the subscription. This will enable me to broaden my fashion design knowledge, and in the future, make an income from it and be able to afford my future subscriptions. Thank you.”
MEET TEEMAH ABDULLAHI
“I was searching how to be a fashion artist on Pinterest and University of Fashion came up. So, I decided to check and follow on Twitter. I am using printed wax for the mask and head scarf. The head scarf is popularly known among the Nupe Women, a tribe in North Central Nigeria, where I’m from. The wax is normally worn during special occasions like a wedding, festival or cultural days. I have been making them for my friends and family and I have five pieces so far.
Awesome, I cannot describe the level of my excitement that I won a UoF one year subscription. Thank you so much!”
MEET ANNANEE WONG
“I’m a native New Yorker, a fashion industry professional and worked as a lead technical designer for over 30 years. I currently live in Gramercy NYC, which is also where my studio is.
I started making masks when I heard there was a call to action. I’ve personally donated about 50 pieces so far, (they take a long time to make). Working with a group of industry professionals, the masks were donated to nurses and nursing homes.
Then, I started pulling out my collection of fabrics and started to put colorful combos together and family and friends started requesting them when It became mandatory to wear them in public.
Posting on FB Instagram & Nextdoor, I began taking orders and receiving payment by Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, and Cash app. I ship from my apt. using stamps.com, and it has been helpful in paying my bills. It’s been an interesting journey and I’m still a one-woman operation.”
Check out Annanee in a new video about the NY Garment Center!
MEET ESTER ADIKE
“Wow. Thank you so much. I am thrilled that my little contribution to help some people in my neighborhood stay safe has been greatly rewarded.
I am a dressmaker and a ‘fashionpreneur’ in the making. I make my clothes for my customers with plans to expand my business and offering to include a physical fashion center with teaching aides and sewing facilities for aspiring fashion designers. I have had various local training but I eventually trained under a fashion designer who is good in pattern making. Since then my focus has been making pattern-made dresses.
I got to know about the University of Fashion while searching for a credible online fashion academy to further improve on my skills. I am thrilled at the extent of the international standard of exposure I have had since I enrolled and been receiving training from the UoF learning platform. I had desired this degree of exposure, now I am getting it from the comfort of my location. Most of the lessons on the UoF platform were new to me. Since then, I have studied consistently especially pattern making, sewing, draping, and other lessons.
Now, with this new opportunity, I will continue my lessons to perfect pattern making, draping fashion art, and working with knit fabrics. The lessons are quite detailed and insightful, and I am glad my classes continue.
I started a summer fashion coaching classes for young aspiring fashion designers with the experience I have gained so far at the UoF. The last summer session was a success. I desire to spark the drive and passion for fashion design for these young lads. The idea is to get them as early as possible. By the grace of God, I plan to grow it into a fashion school and hope there will be an opportunity in the future to partner with UoF in using the videos as part of our training tools.”
MEET EVELISSE MOSQUERA
“My name is Evelisse Mosquera and I started off by making masks for my family and my local community but now my goal is to expand and make sure everyone is safe! All of our masks are made of cotton fabrics (except for the ACTIVO [ACTIVE] ones made of Neoprene).
We at MOSQUERA are making stylish yet protective face masks for everyone in the family (adult and children sizes)! Not only do I want to provide the public with cute but safe masks, I also wanted to include more so I put together face mask kits. In each mask kit there are PM 2.5 filters and a waterproof pouch, to store your mask(s) and to prevent contamination.
I am creative director and CEO of MOSQUERA the brand. I am of Ecuadorian descent (Middle of the Earth Ecuador, South America). I also work with my talented seamstress, Teresa, who has helped me with making the present mask designs. We actually only met due to these special circumstances that I am, in some way, thankful because we have been working in a partnership ever since @mosquerathebrand.
I have been following UoF’s Instagram and I love their useful content.”
MEET LAUREN FONVILLE
“I made my fabulous caftan/tunic and mask from beautiful fabric my friend brought home from India years ago. I’ve been raiding my stash during the pandemic and making incredible discoveries right in my own sewing studio. This look has gotten compliments everywhere I go, which is mostly the grocery store and on hikes with my little daughter. I place a lot of self-worth in my sewing, so the praise is nice to hear and helps me remember who I am.
I’ve been costume designing for theater, film and television in Los Angeles since 2009. After joining our union, Motion Picture Costumers IATSE Local 705 in 2018, I made a big leap toward sewing full time by becoming a custom-made costumer. (In our union, one can either be a “finished” or “custom-made” costumer, but not both). I worked primarily as a set costumer and shopper. My credits include “Star Trek Beyond,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Jane the Virgin,” “One Day at a Time,” “Last Man Standing.” “The Mandalorian,” “Star Trek: Picard,” “Deadwood: The Movie,” ‘Superstore,” “Hollywood” and for TV “The Late Late Show with James Cordon.”
After 15 years as a home sewer, I decided three years ago to sew for a living, full time. I enjoyed working on set, but my passion was designing and sewing my own clothes and clothes for my daughter Alice, who came along in 2015. Spending long days in and out of malls as a shopper for TV shows, gave me insight into the incredible waste and toll the fashion industry takes on our environment and labor force. I resolved to never buy new garments for myself or my family three years ago and I haven’t looked back. I now sew only with plant-based, natural fabrics.
I was a very good home sewer, but I didn’t have much formal training in patternmaking, construction and draping. So, I enrolled in Los Angeles Trade–Technical College of Fashion Design and watched dozens of UoF videos. (In fact, I learned about UoF from fellow students at LATTC.) Both programs enable me to keep working in my industry while taking classes, which means the world to me and my family.
UoF has been instrumental in helping me transition from hobbyist to professional. Their classes enable me to keep working while learning, which is huge for me and my family. Right now, I’m trying to use this time to learn Tukatech, which will hopefully be a skill I can use to work remotely.
Of course, the pandemic has suspended all production in my hometown of Hollywood. I’ve been using the time to sew piles of masks, tackle new projects and learn TUKAtech on UoF. I miss working, but I’m hopeful we’ll be back bringing new stories and characters to life in the coming months.
I can’t wait to see myself on UoF Instagram. My public IG account is @whatsshesewinginthere if you’d like to tag me. On Facebook and LinkedIn I’m simply “Lauren Fonville.”
MEET AYOOLA HINDS
My name is Kimanya ‘Ayoola’ Hinds, originally from the island of Barbados. I now reside in what I call my creative inspiration, Cleveland, Ohio. I started designing my own masks as soon as the crisis started. I used a regular construction face mask to make a template and then my face mask evolution journey began. As there was a shortage of ¼” elastic, I used a design with one piece of 1” elastic going behind the head. When my 1” elastic ran out, I started using ties. Also, I modified the design of the masks through watching YouTube videos and from various patterns that were surfacing. The end result is shown below.
“I wanted to donate to hospitals, and I found an organization who was doing just that. I worked with them supplying masks to a local hospital. I am still making masks for the hospital and was doing so while doing my own production. Some of the masks are shown below.”
“The creative bug inside chewed at my desire to make a mask unique to me and my character, so amidst all that was going on, I put together these two masks based on my brand, LIVE LIFE LIKE AYOOLA, because life is key. They are based off two other versions of the mask designs I created. One has a piece of elastic around the back of the neck, and the other has an adjustable closure with velcro.”
“In addition, my cousin who is a health care worker asked me to create a covering for her, so I made a bonnet with matching face mask. As shown in this picture.”
“As you may have deduced, I love designing. I am self-taught and would love the opportunity to further my knowledge in fashion design, especially pattern making. Remember that no matter what is going on you still have life, which means another opportunity to live your dream.”
MEET MARIA FERNANDA
“Hello! My name is Maria Fernanda, I am a second-year fashion student in Mexico. During this pandemic some of our classes were online like costs and trends, but some of our classes were not qualified to be taken online since it’s hands-on work. I am spending the summer quarantined and have been since mid-March. Having a subscription to UofFashion would allow me to continue practicing and allow me to gain more experience once I head back. I made this mask with an embroidered saying “Give a damn” and a smiley sun inspired by Lingua Franca because I want to emit the message that it is all right to care about things that might not be “popular” and to stay positive during these times. Thanks so much for your time and stay safe :)”
We congratulate all of these thoughtful, compassionate and extremely caring people who use their talents for a good cause. On behalf of all of us at University of Fashion we welcome you to the family!!