By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Textile workers are part of an industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic like so many businesses across the country. Designers in Colorado say mask making has helped them support their business and contribute to the community effort to stop the spread of the virus when people have to leave their homes.

“I don’t expect that my business is going to close, it’s probably going to change just like many other businesses,” said Mona Lucero, a designer based in Denver. “Business will change and it will get better and I think it’s probably going to get stronger because of this.”

(credit: CBS)

She has worked in the industry since 1993, specializing in women’s clothing. For the past year, she has sold items including dresses and accessories out of a boutique near the Denver Art Museum. She first noticed a change in business around February. By early March, she wasn’t getting many customers as the call for social distancing was only increasing. Lucero closed her shop on March 15, not sure what would support her business in the weeks ahead.

“It is an opportunity for all of us to continue in our businesses but not exactly in the same way,” she told CBS4 in a video phone interview. “One thing that I love about this is that they are playful,”

The rent and utilities were still due when she closed her shop and she even had an employee she paid for some projects. The timing came when customers are looking to retailers to enjoy a change in seasons, spring invites a look for brighter colors and an update to the wardrobe. But for the past few weeks she has kept busy making masks for customers. Using cotton fabric leftover from pieces she made in the past, there are a range of patterns to help customers personalize their face masks.

“They kind of make you feel a little bit more cheery during this time,” Lucero said. “I don’t think it has to be completely a deary time.”

(credit: CBS)

She caters to what her clients want, women often choosing more elaborate patterns while men look for masks that have a style similar to golf attire or plaid. In the first week, she made 50 masks and then doubled that number in the second week. By the third week she was able to complete 200 masks with the help of her sewer who works wit her when business is at its usual pace.

“I am amazed that I’m able to do this for people and I have everything that I need here,” she said. “I think it’s just a wonderful feeling, there are many times when I feel very blessed.”

If you want to make your own mask, she recommends looking up guides on YouTube. Lucero says you can even use material from a T-shirt and there are tutorials online to help with those masks. While she doesn’t have the income she normally would this time of year, she is optimistic for the future and tries to pass on that attitude to family, friends, and customers.

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“Do your best to stay positive and believe that it’s going to be better,” Lucero said. “Give something to yourself during this time.”

You can reach out to Lucero on Instagram to buy a mask:

Learn more about her work:

Shawn Chitnis


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