Features, Highlights

CYC: 300k Masks for Migrants

Designer Chia Link Kwee sewing a reusable mask. The team has researched and prototyped many different designs for the best possible fit.

A household name since 1935, CYC Made to Measure is a homegrown tailor helmed by managing director Fong Loo Fern, who is also the chairperson of Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).

With the spread of COVID-19, many of CYC’s projects in China stalled due to work stoppages. Singaporeans also stopped shopping for work wear. Business levels at CYC plunged by 80 per cent. The staff, including Loo Fern, took salary cuts. It pleaded with landlords to reduce their rent in order to stay afloat.

Three weeks before the circuit breaker, as Loo Fern was reflecting on a friend’s idea to sew masks for charity, the Holy Spirit prompted her to donate these masks to migrant workers. Soon after, the CYC team began researching and prototyping mask designs. The prompting turned out to be perfectly timed. This was how the 300k Masks for Migrants initiative was born.

A call for volunteers was posted on CYC’s Facebook page. Within a day, it received an overwhelming response. The project had more than enough volunteers, including detainees referred by the Singapore Prison Service, to help with the sewing. The response to the mask-making initiative was completely unexpected; it was also heartening to see an outpouring of goodwill from Singaporeans from all walks of life.

CYC continues to make corporate-friendly reusable masks (incorporating a water-repellent anti-viral filter) from their renowned Egyptian Cotton shirt fabrics, which are sold on its website. The sales help to support the Masks for Migrants initiative too.

Like all other businesses, CYC has had to adapt swiftly to keep up with COVID-19 measures. Loo Fern describes feeling like falling into a deep chasm at times. Nevertheless, the team has buckled down and found new ways to diversify their business.

Reminding everyone to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding (Prov 3:5), Loo Fern said: “When we are in a storm, it can get scary and our faith is tested. But, if we trust in the Lord and remain positive, we can overcome. It is really important to know where we can draw strength from.”

Batches of pre-cut mask kits ready for delivery to sewing volunteers. Each mask kit contains 300 fabric masks.
The CYC team believes in zero waste and has stored up high quality fabrics left over from producing their tailored shirts.
These are now put to good use for making reusable masks.

By the MCS Communications Team / Photos courtesy of CYC Tailor/CYC Made to Measure