From couture fashion to protection masks: How Filipino fashion designer Alexis Monsanto finds purpose amid the pandemic

Just before the coronavirus crisis hit, Los Angeles-based fashion designer Alexis Monsanto staged his Fall-Winter 2020 collection, not knowing that it will be one of the only shows to go through before lockdown.

Like many who are now adjusting to life in pandemic times, Monsanto quickly pivoted to providing service for the community and to find a way to sustain his and his seamstresses’ livelihood.

“It’s providing me a good, sustainable income not only for myself, but also for my seamstresses who are sewing in the factory, and those who are going to be to be sewing in their house, so I try to be busy and be productive.”

Monsanto is one of several U.S.-based Filipino fashion designers who are heeding the call to help residents and frontliners by providing them much-needed masks.

A good portion of the masks he makes are donated to various organizations and individuals in need.

“I have friends who are doctors who are my former classmates when I used to be in pre-med. I have my med tech classmates who are working in the hospitals right now in the laboratories. I have my clients who are from the healthcare industry, the doctors, the nurses as well. So I have to be able to help them.”

He now produces 2 to 3,000 masks a week distributed through business and community partnerships.

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