SAN DIEGO — While most clothing retail businesses have stopped for a while and mass gatherings such as fashion shows have been put on hold, Filipino American fashion designer Kenneth Barlis has remained busy producing masks and distributing donations.
“It’s like having this adrenaline rush going through my veins to think fast, and act fast to help others in any way I can.’’
People have jumped at the chance to wear designer masks that have been seen on celebrities, music videos and covers of magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
“As of today, we have shipped Kenneth Barlis masks to 51 states and also in Canada! Super exciting!,” the designer beams.
Several people also jumped at the chance to help Kenneth Barlis by sponsoring the mask donations — Megan Camaisa, Dr. Tess Mauricio, Lorelie Antonio, Citadel Nicolas Pen, Apple Mendoza, Erick Cajigal, Nicole Verma, Veronica Rodriguez, Cathy Martinez, Tress Magbanua Balch and Corazon Ugalde, to name a few.
As he delivered donations at an elderly care facility in Chula Vista, California, “One of the elders remembered me when she heard my name. And she told me stories… about my shows and my shop,” said Barlis.
While touching people’s lives, he has been left feeling touched as well. “I want to help our elderly, but little did I know, walking out from the facility changed my perspective and life forever.”
On Mother’s Day, Barlis dropped off donations in hospitals and to workers of essential business establishments around San Diego,
“Our hospital drop-offs were facilitated by my friend Lorelie, the CEO of Art of Hospice Care in San Diego. We were able to donate 491 masks on that day to different front liners, grocery store employees and restaurant workers.’’
Once, in a grocery store, Barlis, unrecognizable in a hat, glasses and a mask, ran into an entire family wearing his masks while shopping. “I complimented the family for the mask that they were wearing. They all told me how much they love it. They even told me how and where to order.”
“As a designer, that is one of my ultimate goals, to see random folks walking around the street wearing my designs and for them to love it,” he said.
WATCH: Kenneth Barlis video. CONTRIBUTED
The Kenneth Barlis mask production team consists of single moms and a retired government employee who had been sidelined by an accident from keeping a regular job.
“I am very happy and proud of my team that hasn’t stop working day and night just to make sure we are able to supply face masks to as many people possible during this scary pandemic.’’
“We are all in this together and we will come out stronger than ever as a community.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.