On a normal day, tailors at GIMCO Clothing Limited, a well-known fashion dealer in Nyahururu town, Laikipia County, would be busy designing men suits and fashionable lady wears to meet the local and international market.
The business, has over the years been able to withstand the ever changing tides of fashion and fads, while bracing for new challenges in the industry.
The glass display at the corner of the shop may be deceiving, giving an impression that all on the shelves for offer are the stellar suits, fitting to precision.
But a walk into the stores reveals a rather different picture. We meet about 10 youthful tailors busy sawing medical protective gears and masks aimed at relieving shortages of the much-needed apparatus for medics dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The GIMCO Clothing Director, Dominic Mugwimi says the shop has decided to shift allegiance from fashionable clothing after the county government of Laikipia, through the Innovation Programme sought their intervention in designing the gears to address the shortage being experienced across the nation.
“For about two weeks now, we have shifted our allegiance to these gears as a way of filling the national gap in the distribution of medical gear.
“The initial design of the overalls was a brain child of Dedan Kimathi University, while the materials we use in making these garments and imported from Taiwan and German markets,” the polished tailor says.
As a dealer in clothing, GIMCO felt there was a gap that they needed to fill and with the help of the county administration they underwent training on making the gears at Dedan Kimathi University.
The confident director notes that the store is up to the task to ensure the county and the nation at large gets the gears that are the best deal for medics.
“It is a sure deal as the materials are not only waterproof but recommended for use in fields that are prone to contamination. The overalls are reusable as they are disinfected for the next use and the medics need not to fear handling COVID 19 patients, while donning them.
And as a way of ensuring that the apparatus were fit for the task, each tailor at the shop was assigned to professionally making a part of the clothing which would later be attached to each other to make the garment.
Everyone is assigned every part to ensure professionalism and perfection during the making of the protective gears. This has also helped us save on time as we only require 45 minutes to complete a garment.
We are calling on youths to come and undergo this training to try address the current need, while gaining skills that would come in handy in their future ventures,” said Mugwimi.
His sentiments are echoed by his Operations Manager, Jane Wanjiru, who notes that more workforce was required to meet the rising demand that was weighing on them.
“This work requires the right attitude and commitment. We are overwhelmed but it is for a worthy course, to protect our medics who are our frontline defenders in the fight against COVID 19 pandemic,” she sighs.
As she goes back to her sewing machine that she occasionally uses but now forced with peculiar circumstances, Wanjiru only knows too well how a stitch at a time will finally win this war.
By Anne Sabuni