Written by Paula White Hayes, Guest Contributor. Photos by Jan Osborn.
Nardos Imam is a top couture designer who lives right here in Dallas. Everyone who knows her will tell you that she is always on the go – whether creating new designs, meeting with clients or doing runway shows. Yet, when the shelter-in-place orders came for Dallas county and her store and workshop temporarily closed, she found herself watching the news with all the stories of PPE shortages and healthcare workers risking their lives. The images of these nurses and doctors appealing to anyone who would listen for more masks to keep them safe while they cared for all the patients kept playing over and over again in her head. She knew she could not sit idly at home and do nothing to help these healthcare heroes. She would transform her couture gown studio into a workshop to make masks for those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Nardos Designs would work to provide our medical heroes the masks they need to win the fight against COVID-19 and save lives.
Nardos reached out on social media to let the world know that she would be making masks for the medical community. “Hello Everyone! We want to help the hospitals and nursing homes. We have the industrial machines and capacity to make the masks. But we don’t know how or what materials are required. Please email us with any information! We are ready!” Immediately followers and people in the community began contacting Nardos with the specifications required for healthcare workers’ masks and offers to help. Sherry Simon, a Systems Director at Baylor Scott and White Health, helped her find the appropriate material and that got the ball rolling. Nardos then perfected the design and the process: she could make one mask every two minutes.
Using her own funds to produce and underwrite the first 3000 masks, Nardos soon found herself overwhelmed with requests from hospitals and clinics and she did not want to turn anyone down. A client and friend, Prudence Graham, reached out to help Nardos. When Prudence saw the volume of requests coming in, Prudence asked Nardos if she could start a GOFUNDMe campaign at #HelpMASKaHERO to help raise funds to make even more masks. When word got out that Nardos was expanding her production of masks, people started donating to the GOFUNDMe campaign and Mizzen and Main, another local company, donated bolts of their Performance Fabric.
“With over 20 seamstresses and volunteers around the community, we are now producing and delivering masks to hospitals here and around the nation,” stated Nardos. Thousands of masks have been delivered to various local hospitals and hospice centers including Baylor Health Care System, Parkland Hospital, UT Southwestern (“UTSW”) and T Boone Pickens Hospice Center. Nardos received a note after her masks were delivered to UTSW saying “we cannot begin to express our gratitude for these masks. We are so proud to wear a Nardos Design mask! What a gift.” Dr. Janet Reid, a radiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told her, “It is like Christmas here now that Nardos Design masks have arrived for our staff. We are so very thankful for this most generous gift of these beautiful masks!”
Nardos and team are ready to assist our medical workers most in need. If you know of any hospitals or healthcare administrators in need please direct them to: Covid19Mask@NARDOSDESIGN.COM. Nardos hopes to make masks for all the healthcare workers who need them! To donate, please go to #HelpMASKaHERO!
If this story has inspired you to support the North Texas nonprofit community, visit our How to Support Nonprofits During Social Isolation page to learn how you can get involved!