Local fashion designer makes fashionable facemasks for first responders

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - "I've been sewing since I was eight. My mom taught me how to hand sew."

Paris Jo Thomas is a stay at home fashion designer in a stay at home world.

"I am a fashion designer, I have my own business that I've been working on. I've been building it since 2016," Paris said.

A business full of custom prom dresses, wedding gowns and now fashionable face masks for first responders.

"I am definitely wanting to donate to local hospitals South Bend, Mishawaka area," Paris said.

The masks are made of a 100 percent cotton reversible shell and a sewn in non-woven filter making it the next best alternative to surgical masks, according to the CDC.

"The 100 percent cotton, according to the CDC, is the best protection barrier against the droplets and the virus with up to 70 percent protection," Paris explained.

The idea came from Paris's mother, a nurse at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, who helps when she can because she too knows just how scarce masks can be.

"This is personal," Paris's mother said. "These are not just doctors and nurses. These are my friends and she didn't hesitate one moment to say 'yes, I'll do it.'"

Paris says she's determined to help nurses like her mother no matter how many masks it takes.

"Even if it's 15, it's 30, if it's 50, hopefully we can do that," Paris said. "I'm just going to keep making them since I'm in the home right now. We can't leave. I'm just going to do my best to get them out to everyone."

Paris says she is focusing on donating as many as she can to local hospitals.However, she is also selling them to those at home looking to but face masks.

Each mask costs $8 each. They come in two sizes: adult and kids. They are also washable.

If you want to order a Paris Jo face mask, you are asked to contact her at plipsey22@gmail.com.