Residing and working in New Hyde Park for more than 20 years, fashion designer Mario Ramo is stepping up to the plate to help others by making and donating PPE masks to frontline workers by using fabric from his dress designs.
“I am originally from Guyana and both my grandmothers were excellent dressmakers in my hometown,” he said. “My aunt was a ballerina and she had many fancy dresses. I grew up around the arts and fashion, and was heavily influenced by them. When I moved to New York, I studied fashion design at the F.I.T. in 1987. I’ve been working as a couturier and designer ever since, doing custom dresses for all occasions, including weddings.”
After the state mandated shutdown by Governor Andrew Cuomo back in mid-March that affected non-essential businesses, Ramo’s work came to a standstill.
“I’ve built up a wide clientele of various backgrounds and professions, including nurses, a few of whom are my friends,” Ramo explained. “After the shutdown, all the events were cancelled, so my work was at a standstill. I wanted to contribute in some way and I thought I could make masks for my friends and family. Word got around and I got orders for more. I know they are not the N95 masks, but they should help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially for hospital workers.”
So how are these masks made?
“I have lots of cotton and other fashion fabrics at hand, so it was easy to just stitch them up,” Ramo said. “People have told me they love the unique colors and patterns.”
Since being apart of the New Hyde Park community for more than 20 years, Ramo said that he loves the diverse community within the village and more.
“I’m also a member of the chamber of commerce,” he said. “I love that it’s an up and coming neighborhood and that it’s close to the city. I think I am most proud of how everyone is finding small ways to help one another at this time. I am grateful for the brave work that our local nurses and other medical professionals are doing as well, every single day. It’s always satisfying to do work that you enjoy and to treat everyone around you with respect and tenderness. These values, for me, are especially important during crises like the one we are all facing right now.”
For more information and to see more of Ramo’s designs, you can visit his Instagram page, @marioramocouture.