'A small way of giving back': Michael Cinco on making protective equipment in Dubai atelier

The Filipino designer is taking part in the Arab Fashion Council's initiative to make garments for front-line workers

Michael Cinco's D3 atelier is now making protection gowns, coveralls, and other PPE essentials. Instagram / Michael Cinco
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His atelier is normally strewn with feathers, sequins and reams and reams of colourful tulle, but Michael Cinco's workshop is now a one-tone affair.

The designer, who was born in the Philippines and now works in Dubai, has shared a behind-the-scenes glance at his Dubai Design District office, where his team have been hand-making protective garments to help in the fight against Covid-19.

Instead of red-carpet gowns, his atelier is now filled with tailors and seamstresses stitching medical gowns, protective coveralls and other PPE equipment.

Cinco and his team have joined the Arab Fashion Council's #AThread4Cause initiative, which called upon local designers to make protective clothing in their workshops.

"Managing director and business partner Sayed Ali is busy supervising the making of protection gowns, coveralls and other PPE essentials for our amazing medical frontliners fighting Covid-19 in UAE," a post on the label's Instagram account states, along with several images and videos taken in the atelier.

The clips show workers, wearing protective face masks and gloves, working on rows of white gowns.

"This is our own small way of serving the Dubai community and giving back gratitude to the UAE Government," the post added.

#AThread4Cause has partnered with Dubai Health Authority to help designers make protective face masks, gowns and hoodies that comply with the authority’s safety standards, which will be distributed to the region’s healthcare workers.

Using what it calls an “emergency network” of Arab designers, the AFC is helping labels and their facilities make the switch to producing disposable wear, while adhering to stringent regulations.

A number of designers have signed up to take part, including womenswear designer Marmar Halim, couture house Maison Yeya, Emirati designer Yara Bin Shakar and Amato, by designer Furne One.

Dubai Design District, which is home to a number of luxury labels, has created a distribution centre to allow brands based in the neighbourhood to join forces and send out garments to healthcare workers.

D3 has also partnered with a Saudi Arabian fabric manufacturer to supply more than four tonnes of fabric to participating brands in its area.

“In exceptional circumstances such as this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stand together," said Cinco in a statement. "The future is not bleak and it’s crucial that we provide people with something to believe in. We need to demonstrate the sense of belonging, community spirit and light that only fashion can bring to our world."