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From style to safety: CIT students make masks for COVID-19

Published: 03 Dec 2020

As part of her studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (MST50119) student, Brianna Harris never thought she would be contributing to public safety as part of the response to COVID-19.

Now she is one of a dozen students who have been making protective masks through CIT Fashion as part of their training.

The masks are being sold through the CIT Student Association, with the money raised from sales going to local charity Orange Sky, who support Australians experiencing homelessness through free laundry services, showers and safe spaces.

Brianna said the masks were made, from start to finish, by students and staff working together in a production line at CIT Reid. Once completed some of the masks are being sold through the CIT Student Association or donated to charities.

She has found the experience to be a valuable part of her training "All of the sewing machines we use at CIT are industrial machines, so we are getting first-hand experience at how this sort of process would work in our industry. At first, we were making a mask every four minutes, but we have been getting faster," Brianna said.

"It has been a really helpful experience. When we started in first term, we focused on pattern making. We were drawing designs and then creating the product. I never imagined we would be making masks for COVID-19."

Aside from the invaluable practice and experience, Brianna also noted that producing these masks was also helping the community more generally. "Even if right now there are no cases in the ACT, you never know what might happen. Having the knowledge of how to make these masks is really great."

Brianna has so far enjoyed her time at CIT. "I always wanted to study fashion, and I thought I should go to a TAFE to learn the basics, but this isn't just the basics. I'm learning everything I need," Brianna said.

Face masks are $10 each and are available in person at CITSA Shop at Reid or from their website.