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Fight Fire With Fashion


By Ayana Bryant-Weekes

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemonium, the traditionally full-service cut-and-sew, Michigan-based manufacturer, Detroit Sewn, completely restructured its production operations to focus on producing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as pocket face masks and isolation gowns for frontline healthcare workers and other essential service workers fighting against Covid-19. Previously run as a full contract sewing facility -assisting entrepreneurs from the pre-production stage, to marketing and design, all the way to a finished product- Detroit Sewn has been partnering with other organizations in an effort to produce around 300,000 medical masks to be donated to hospitals throughout Metro Detroit. 

Photos via One-size Isolation Gowns Washable; Standard Face Mask with Twill or Elastic; Face Mask with Filter Pocket and Elastic.

“We were approached by a hospital group for the first order. It was a very immediate urgent need. So we jumped into it very quickly. We were fortunate that we had proper materials. And we knew how to be able to quickly make prototypes, the very same day, which the hospital group was able to take to clinicians and get approval on,” shared Karen Buscemi, CEO of Detroit Sewn, when asked about how they became involved with the Arsenal for Health Care effort.

With a team of 25 people on two shifts Detroit Sewn is supplying fabric to other manufacturing organizations like ZF America - one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers who can offer industrial production power.

"We are proud and grateful that seven manufacturing and sewing partners including ZF have joined with us to fulfill the urgent need for masks that meet CDC guidelines," said Karen Buscemi, CEO of Detroit Sewn. 

This midwest sewing factory has become a successful business, steadily growing from humble beginnings with one sewer and one client when it first opened in 2015 in downtown Pontiac. Before Detroit’s Sewn there wasn’t a full service cut-and-sew facility for manufacturing apparel and home goods in Southeastern Michigan, so Buscemi created the opportunity to service the fashion industry in Detroit with the goal to prove that manufacturing apparel could work in Michigan. Detroit Sewn’s parent organization, Detroit Garment Group, is also working to launch a Garment District in Detroit and Buscemi hopes Detroit Sewn will attract other designers and manufacturers to the Motor City.

Photos via

Right next door to the sewing factory, in addition to producing PPE, Detroit Sewn has also teamed up with the Glamorous Moms Foundation to organize a volunteer Command Center to accept homemade mask donations.The volunteer hub allows for the receipt of 100% fabric donations, DIY masks from at-home sewers that have been pre-washed using hot water, and organized pickup of free home-sewn masks in packs of 10 to community groups in critical need.

** Find out more information on the work being done to produce PPE, PPE product availablity, and the Volunteer Command Center donation specifications here at the Detroit Sewn website!

** Fabric donations and DIY masks can be dropped off curbside at 71 N. Saginaw St. Pontiac, MI 48342 between the hours of 12-4pm, Monday through Friday.**

** Learn more about Glamorous Moms Foundation here

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