Christian Siriano was one of the first fashion designers to pivot into making personal protective equipment when the pandemic started. And now, the state of New York is rewarding that move by naming Siriano as one of 12 companies that will receive funding to continue to produce the medical gear.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said 12 New York companies would receive a total of $6.9 million in incentives from the state as it prepares for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic this fall. CJ Designs, a Christian Siriano Co., is receiving $352,590 of that money, Cuomo said, to manufacture face masks/coverings for nonmedical employees returning to public service.
CJ Designs has already provided the city of Buffalo, N.Y., with 10,000 customized uniform face masks and Metro North with 7,000.
“Christian Siriano quickly changed the scope of his high fashion Manhattan design and manufacturing studio to provide proper face coverings for two of the larger public employers in the state of New York,” the governor said. “His company has invested $600,000 in this project, which allowed him to maintain his 17-person staff while promoting safety and economic recovery through the adaptation of his normal business. Christian is symbolic of great New Yorkers rising to the challenge and supporting the well-being of the larger New York State community.”
Other companies that are receiving state funding include Genesis Disposables in Frankfort, N.Y., which manufactures disposable hospital gowns. It will receive $135,000; HPK Industries, which will receive $1 million for manufacturing surgical masks, gowns and other protective garments, and Starline USA, which is receiving $200,000 for revamping its eyewear and safety head production factory to make face shields.
Eric Gertler, acting commissioner for Empire State Development and chief executive officer-designate, said: “Many of the world’s premier and most innovative companies are in New York State. ESD’s support for these businesses not only answers Governor Cuomo’s call for homegrown industries to assist with the state’s efforts to combat the coronavirus but reflects the investment that is being made to strengthen New York’s manufacturing sector, enhance a diverse, dynamic private sector partner that can adapt quickly to new market opportunities, and continue its record of smart growth as we reopen and grow statewide.”
In March, Cuomo solicited New York companies to retool production lines to manufacture critical supplies needed to fight COVID-19.