Houston celebrity designer makes free masks for healthcare workers in wake of coronavirus pandemic

HOUSTON – Usually, Chloe Dao spends her days making elegant clothing for Houstonians, even winning Season 2 of the hit show “Project Runway.”

But Dao, like other businesses, has had to adjust.

“I closed my store on Tuesday, officially, because of the coronavirus, and I was really emotional about it,” she said.

Now, she’s on a new mission.

“I was like, ‘What can I possibly do to help?’” Dao said.

Dao said she realized the natural thing to do was to sew. She said she has been heard the reports that people needing masks.

She posted on social media offering free masks, and the response was overwhelming.

She said she has since turned her focus to only providing masks for healthcare workers and hospitals, who are in dire need. The requests have come from all over the country.

Dao said she hunkered down and did research. She found the most sensible option was to make the masks from reusable cloth.

“Cloth is washable. (The mask) has a pocket so you can put an (air) filter in it,” Dao said.

Dao closed her boutique, but all her employees are working on the masks while keeping a safe social distance from each other.

“We are able to do 150-200 masks a day. We’re speeding up a little bit faster now that we have the rhythm,” Dao said.

Doe said whether its sewing or supporting local restaurants, we all need to lean on each other during this time.

“Whatever skill you have, help someone with it,” she said.

To contribute to the Dao’s efforts, submit a donation here: www.chloedao.com/products/10-gift-support-our-team