WHEN South Cotabato was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the province experienced a short supply of PPEs. This is mainly because when lockdown was declared, there were limited flights coming in and out of Region 12, affecting the delivery of PPEs and their raw materials to South Cotabato.
Around this time, Dr. Faye Travilla, RN, founded Shield Pinas, an NGO that provided free PPEs to 25 hospitals and health centers in South Cotabato. This initiative, called Puksain Covid sa South Cotabato, started in March 2020 immediately after the lockdown was declared in the province.
Travilla worked with experts in the medical industry to consult with and test their prototype for hazmat suits. “There were several prototypes and only two were approved. The prototypes were then mass produced by seamstresses who were mostly women who lost their livelihood because of the pandemic. Some of them were widows,” shared Travilla. She added that their initiative has the goal of providing protection to vulnerable individuals and also to give jobs to local seamstresses who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
During the pandemic, like any other frontliners, Travilla isolated from her family and would eat alone in their garage for fear of exposing her elderly parents to the virus. But she considered this quarantine a great opportunity for her to revisit her artistic side and created designs for SpringMD.
“I started to study the science and art behind coming up with high quality protective medical apparel that is not only chic and elegant but also medically sound. Since people are going out to crowded places, I thought it would be better if those who are part of the economic frontlines should also be given appropriate PPE. I have partnered with two renowned local designers and medical frontliners to review the prototypes I came up with,” she said.
When she was a medical intern in General Santos and Davao cities, she was also working part-time as a stylist for clients in Makati to help support herself and also to save up for the medical board exam. This experience in fashion made Travilla lean more towards aesthetics and function working together.
With their goal of providing PPEs to medical and economic frontliners, Travilla said they make sure that the fabrics used are Filipino-made to also support the local textile industry.
One thing that sets this brand apart is because it is designed by a medical frontliner. I think we are the only brand that pilot tests our designs in the frontlines (clinics) before they are mass produced.
SpringMD is therefore not only very fashionable but also medically sound.
“All PPEs produced by SpringMD are designed and tested in the frontlines by the medical frontliner herself for at least three months, and passed the five-way test: (1) Comfort – lightweight and cool; (2) Safety – waterproof; (3) Design – uplifting, elegant designs; (4) Functionality – easy-to-wear, has pockets, and designed to protect against splashes; and (5) Durability – withstands repeated washes,” she said.
Spring MD Design provides PPE that can be worn by anyone who needs to go out of their house -- whether or not they are medical frontliners. The brand believes that staying at home is economically practical and so multiple layers of protection is one of the best options to go for when one needs to leave the house.
“When we shift our energy to what we can create instead of worrying about what we can’t control, it tells us that the pen of our life story is still in our hands,” Travilla said.