Pet fashion designers sew face masks to help medical workers

As one of New York’s most in-demand pet fashion designers, Ada Nieves has sewn creative couture for countless dogs, cats, hamsters, pigs, camels, bearded dragons and chickens. Many animals have walked runways at charity events like the New York Pet Fashion Show or starred in TV shows and movies.

But now she’s outfitting humans — with face masks to protect one another from the coronavirus.

When people buy a mask, she “recycles” the money to buy supplies to make masks to donate to local hospitals or to ship to nurses around the country who have sent her requests by social media. She’s also donating to elderly people who cannot leave their apartments, and to cancer patients.

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“The situation right now that we’re all living in is a nightmare. It’s horrific, it’s horrible,” she told TODAY. “We’re all so stressed and I am just trying to use what I know and what I do to try to bring a little entertainment so people, even for five seconds, they can ease their minds and maybe for that moment, they can relax.”

For 17 years, Ada Nieves has designed elaborate outfits for pets to wear at home or in commercials, TV shows and movies. Now she's using her talents to create face masks for health care workers and others in need during the coronavirus pandemic.Courtesy of Ada Nieves for Pets

For a dog who loves to tear apart stuffed animals, make a durable activity ball with a Hol-ee rubber ball, scraps of fabric, and treats.

Nieves, who owns Ada Nieves for Pets, will spend 14-16 hours at a time sewing masks to fill orders. Her 86-year-old mom keeps her company and helps a little by cutting thread.

So far, she’s shipped more than 500 masks and has another 200 ready to go.

“We’re all in this together,” she said. “I think that’s the key to this: Together, every little thing that we do together, it helps.”