Acton-based Firm Hailed For Producing Virus-killing Aprons

Fashionizer forced to adapt when lockdown hit their uniform design business

Rupa Huq MP (right) visits Fashionizer, and meets Debbie and neighbours Stan
Rupa Huq MP (right) meets Debbie and Stan and Dean of Fenns of Piccadilly

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An Acton based business has been praised for their ingenuity after bringing a pioneering virus-killing apron to the market.

Uniform designers Fashionizer has teamed up with a fabric designer to develop the product and they were hailed for their ingenuity during a visit by their local MP Rupa Huq last week.

The Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq was impressed by their “inventiveness and public spirit.”

Fashionizer, which is based on Roslin Square, saw its takings fall dramatically when lockdown was enforced in March. The business, which has developed bespoke fabrics for 26 years, suffered as its clients in the hospitality and spa industry closed their doors.

But company director Debbie Leon was determined to adapt to the new situation, and play her part in the effort against Covid-19. The CEO, who cut her teeth making costumes at Thames Television for programmes including Shelley and Never the Twain, set about designing masks and protective aprons.

Model wears Fashionizer’s virus-killing apron. Pciture: Fashionizer

Ms Leon said, “We were delighted with the feedback on our masks, which are comfortable to wear and reusable. We then started researching specialist fabrics that might offer protection from the virus, but might be needed in non-medical environments.

“Venturing into a new market, we teamed up with Panaz, a fabric manufacturer to make aprons using their technology, which is effective against coronavirus. We believe this offers a good solution for staff working in nurseries and care homes. It’s effective but also sustainable and less expensive in the long run.”

When Rupa Huq was sent a mask from the business, she got in touch with Ms Leon and promised to visit. She met Fashionizer staff on 24 July to discuss the issues the company was facing with Covid-19, as rules requiring face coverings to be worn in all shops
came into force.

The Labour MP said, “I am hugely impressed by the inventiveness and public spirit of Debbie and the whole team at Fashionizer. In the midst of a national crisis, this local business has stepped up to produce garments that will undoubtedly help save lives.

“The aprons, which are made using fabrics proven to kill viruses, could well be a game changer. Until we have a vaccine or effective treatment, it will be these sorts of ingenious products that can best protect us.”

The Shield Plus material used in the aprons, which has been used for hospital cubicle curtains and contract upholsteries for years, works to attract microbes and destroy them on impact.

Developed by Lancashire-based Panaz, the technology has the broadest spectrum of effectiveness against bacteria, including C-Diff Spore and viruses, including the Coronavirus.

Dr Huq added: “I was really impressed at Debbie’s energy. It was heart-breaking to hear how, as a small business, she has been hit hard with drastically reduced takings. The landlord still demands rent and there’s no let up from the council in terms of business rates either.

“Rishi Sunak needs to take heed of so many in precarious situations who are risking everything, like Debbie and Fenns of Piccadilly. Such businesses can’t be allowed to go under. I really hope that these pioneering, virus-blasting aprons go some way to assisting Fashionizer.”

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May 3, 2020

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