Atlanta designer offers fashion, safety with Mask4Mask

What does an Atlanta fashion designer and party promoter do when the world turns upside down? If he’s Alfons Dovana, he pinpoints the season’s must-have accessory and takes it to the next level.

As a sought-after designer and founder of the Queen Butch party series, Mask 4 Mask is keeping Dovana more than busy during lockdown. The title calls to mind a gay trope, but it’s also literal: For every sleek, chic neoprene mask sold, Mask 4 Mask donates two surgical-grade PPE masks to hospitals, first responders and healthcare workers.

“I have a home studio that I already work in, with a cutting table and sewing machine. I created a team of five sew-ers and one delivery person to assist me in the project,” Dovana tells Project Q. “We are sewing surgical masks using HEPA filters that filter 99.97% of particles. My delivery person assists with dropping of masks to hospitals and supplies to my fellow teammates.”

And they're selling like hotcakes. So much so, delivery on the neoprene/fashion version in three colors — black, khaki and white — stands at about 10-15 days.

If that’s not your need, you can donate funds to help get out more of the PPE version.

“If somebody doesn’t want a mask and would like to assist towards the production of more PPE, we are also accepting donations,” Dovana says. “We’ve already made and donated over 1,000 surgical masks in just four weeks.”

We got the mask mastermind to look up from the sewing machine long enough to tell us more about his work and his motivations.

Tell us about Mask 4 Mask. 

Hospitals, first responders and healthcare workers are in desperate need of supplies who are fighting on the front line. With the lack of supplies and the virus spreading so fast, many healthcare workers are getting infected as they risk their lives for us. 

As a designer, I felt it’s important to use my skills and resources to help our health heroes during this time of crisis. 

What has been the response?

We’ve received an overwhelming amount of support and love from everyone. Our buyers love how soft and breathable the neoprene masks are around the face.

Where have the PPE versions been sent so far?

They’ve gone to Grady Hospital, Atlanta Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente ER in Los Angeles, Wellstar Douglas Hospital, Absolute Care, Emory Hospital, Piedmont Hospital, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center Plano, Texas, as well as individuals who reached out to me needing supplies.

What’s your take on quarantine and the easing of self-isolation protocols?

It’s very important that we continue to practice social distancing, even if our government is opening our city back up. This is a life and death situation we are living in, and using common sense will be crucial to our survival. 

Respect people around you, and wear a mask when you go outside. It is our obligation as a community to make sure that businesses who decide to open early are practicing under safe measures.

What are your post-apocalyptic plans?

Right now, everything is so uncertain, therefore I’m only thinking about masks and getting them out to as many people as possible. I’m working 15-hour days, every day with no days off. It’s difficult to plan for the future during this chaotic time. 

After this is all over, I’ll continue to create work and hopefully be back to New York Fashion Week this September, which is highly unlikely at the moment. 

As much as I love producing Queen Butch, I don’t currently have any plans for my next event until the world gets back to normal and it’s safe to meet in large groups again.

Anything else you'd like to add?

If you don’t have a job or income and need access to a mask, please get in contact with me on Facebook, and I will mail one to you free of charge. Stay safe.

You can donate or purchase Mask 4 Mask products exclusively at AlfonsDovana.com. Find Alfons Dovana on Facebook and Instagram @BareCouture.