Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Grant Recipient:
Marrs Makers is a New York-based fashion and leather goods brand with 20 years of experience in the NYC garment industry. The brand focuses on quality construction and finishing with attention to fit and performance. When COVID started, Marrs Makers pivoted to making face masks with Brooks Brothers for US military and first responders. Shortly after launching its PPE line, the brand identified a pervasive face mask fit problems due to inadequate age/size appropriate mask fit guidelines for children. As a result, Marrs Makers developed and tested improved face mask sizing addressing children’s evolving head size and facial features.
The NY MEP PPE Grant helped Marrs Makers secure discussions with government, health, education and industry manufacturing leaders to address the non-existence of PPE designed, tested and made for children’s use. N95 respirators and surgical/medical face masks are still regulated using standards based on US workforce adults; no such work has been done for children. Marrs Makers thus created communication to present to NYC government officials, highlighting this urgent issue of age/size appropriate face mask fit in schools to slow the spread of infection. The team proposed data-driven plan of action for tools and training to solve this problem in order to achieve resilience and preparedness in ongoing and future pandemics. They planned how to communicate to school administrators the severity of the mask fit problem and to industry manufacturers on the need for size standardization in children’s mask production. Furthermore, Marrs Makers crafted a strategy to further test and validate its age/size appropriate fit methodology for children’s face masks, so that the industry could set standards accordingly.