Detroit Based Industrial Sewing Company Has Been Making PPE for Months

Detroit-based Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center altered their business model to help outfit frontline workers and have produced more than 400,000 masks and 150,000 gowns for healthcare workers.

Back in April, at the start of the pandemic, we talked with a few people about how metro Detroit organizations were retooling their spaces and workflows to help with the demand for PPE and other pandemic-related needs. Nine months into the COVID-19 health crisis, we thought it was time to check back in with one of those organizations to see how they’ve been adjusting to the new normal and see what’s coming up this winter.

Listen: ISAIC’s sustainable approach to producing PPE.


Jen Guarino is the CEO and Chair at Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC). The center’s purpose, she says, is to prepare people for advanced careers in apparel manufacturing. Guarino was forced to innovate as the pandemic thwarted the grand opening of ISAIC. “Back in April we were set to open our facility on Cass (in Detroit)… and when the pandemic hit… we quickly designed a ([PPE) gown and bulk purchased medical materials to make those gowns and distributed them,” says Guarino.

ISAIC had to shift and adapt quickly in order to manufacture a brand-new product. “It was a steep learning curve,” says Guarino. Despite the challenge, the innovation center made 400,000 masks and 150,000 gowns for health care workers. With new safety measures implemented, ISAIC is responding to a spike in demand for PPE while also advocating for sustainable and ethical garment making practices.

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