Responses to the Outbreak: Freeman Jorden Barratt

14 September 2020

In April, we shared the excellent work undertaken by Freeman and tailor Jorden Barratt, who began making re-usable masks for key workers at the outset of the lockdown in the UK.

An alumna of the Golden Shears Competition, Jorden won the Silver Shears in 2017, setting up her own tailoring company, Jorden Elizabeth Tailoring soon after.

Compelled to act because of the PPE crisis affecting the UK, Jorden began producing masks from her own dining room table, donating masks to her local hospice, carers and key community organisations for free.

As the national lockdown progressed and cases spiked in April, news travelled fast in Jorden’s Buckinghamshire town and demand rapidly grew. By late April she had made over 650 masks for key workers. Private requests also began to flood in as global health advice recommended the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Jorden was committed to producing high-quality masks for essential workers for free, asking those who did wish to pay her instead to donate £5 to their desired COVID-19 charity. A cost of £5 for non-essential workers helped to raise funds for sourcing fabric and producing the masks.

The Company was also proud to support Jorden, recognising the huge need of skilled craftsmen to be able to produce masks to the required standard. While finding the internet was full of templates for masks, Jorden's tailoring expertise allowed her to tweak the designs to ensure a tighter and better fit that would be more comfortable for a variety of wearers.

As lockdown was extended and masks first became preferable and later compulsory in certain spaces, Freeman Jorden continued to make the comfortable and bright masks to create a happier, more positive feel for those of us unused to this new normal. The feedback on her masks has been terrific and has been particularly appreciated by healthcare and key workers as well as volunteers whose work has required their close interaction with nervous patients and clients throughout the pandemic; a colourful mask helped reassure many in those early, worrying days. The most popular mask, perhaps surprisingly, was the Spider-Man print for adult men!

The beauty of the masks is that they are machine washable and include a built-in filter, which means wearers feel safer as they can wash them, they are better for the environment, and the extra layer means greater piece of mind for safety for wearers and those around them.

Jorden has now made between 1,500 and 1,600 masks. At the height of the lockdown she was averaging around 25 masks per day, demand partly driven through photos and tags on social media.

Today, Jorden is back at work, which remains slow to return to normal. As she develops new blocks and patterns for casual wear and a new country and shooting range which she hopes to launch by the new year, Jorden continues to make masks in her free time.

Jorden joined the Company through Redemption in 2019 and this year joined the Golden Shears committee ahead of the 2021 competition.

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