Queens Scene

Marrs Makers Protects Our Kids

A local student in an ill-fitting generic mask.

A local student in an ill-fitting generic mask.

Marrs Makers is a fashion and leather goods brand based in LIC. They are focused on quality construction and finishing, with close attention to fit and performance.

In March 2020, they were called upon to help LIC Golden Fleece Manufacturing / Brooks Brothers factory produce non-woven face masks for the US military and first responders. This distributed manufacturing effort was achieved by using a local network of professional seamstresses who had been furloughed during NYC’s shutdown. All workers sewed the masks at home.

Marrs Makers developed multiple sizing options for their version of reusable pleated face masks, using up-cycled Italian cotton shirting fabric.

Last spring, with the support of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Marrs Makers participated in a pilot study on ways to improve the fit and function of children’s face masks. The principal of a Jackson Heights, Pre-K through 8th grade school had expressed frustration with repeated breaking of ear loops, and Marrs knew from their own mask pattern making how to make improvements in fit, comfort and coverage.

Marrs Makers Face Masks – children are happy to wear comfortable, protective masks of their choice!

Marrs Makers Face Masks – children are happy to wear comfortable, protective masks of their choice!

During this initiative, Marrs learned the generic “child” sized face masks were too large for many Pre-K to 5th graders, the age group too young to be vaccinated. Being too large, the masks gapped around the cheeks, slipped below the nose, or rode up; had uncomfortable ear loops that were too small and didn’t provide ample coverage around the nose and mouth. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable masks led to frequent disruptions in the classroom, as well as unhappy children and parents.

Working closely with the principal and school staff, Marrs Makers spent three days measuring and fitting students for custom-sized, age/size appropriate face masks on-site. The children found the new masks comfortable enough to wear all day.

Now that NYC schools are reopening for in-person instruction, wearing comfortable, well-fitted face masks has become an urgent priority, especially when congested classrooms make 6-ft. social distancing impractical or impossible.

A Queens student at the Pilot Fitting sports his well-fitting Marrs Makers mask.

A Queens student at the Pilot Fitting sports his well-fitting Marrs Makers mask.

Disposable medical pediatric face masks—the ubiquitous blue pleated ones— do not have the size options that would ensure proper fit in young children. N95 masks and respirators are not designed, nor tested for use on children, who do not have the same breathing capacity as adults.

Thanks to a grant from New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NYMEP), Marrs Makers, in partnership with Queens-based Tratado LLC, has developed a fit methodology that standardizes mask sizing. These standards help makers— from the person sewing at home to the local manufacturer through to the overseas producer—more effectively offer age/size appropriate face masks for children.

Engaging children in the process of selecting their new favorite face mask can help with compliance, not just in school, but in other indoor spaces, and even on the playground. Allowing kids to choose the color and material further empowers their self-expression.

For more info, visit: marrsmakers.com

The product page link for kid-sized face masks: marrsmakers.com/collections/face-masks-the-comeback-made-to-last-in-nyc/products/face-masks-the-comeback-summer-fridays-made-in-nyc?variant=39387048771665

Marrs Makers is on Instagram and Facebook: www.instagram.com/marrsmakers/ and www.facebook.com/MarrsMakers/

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