Know The Difference: Protective Gear vs Medical-Grade PPE



With fashion brands and designers creating their own protective gear, we explain the rationale why you should consider it and its real difference from a medical-grade PPE.

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has the world reeling in quarantine, it has been ingrained in almost every person to protect themselves from the virus. From constantly and consistently disinfecting to wearing face masks, gloves, and even face shields, we are taking safety precautions to heart in order to protect not just ourselves, but also those around us.

In fact, as a workaround to the temporary stalling of their “non-essential” operations, several designers have shifted their ateliers with a different perspective, producing medical-grade PPEs to donate to various hospitals and front liners who are in dire need of it. Seeing as how this could be a viable business and recognizing that this is the way of the future, they are now offering their takes on the protective gear to everyone who wants to feel safe whenever they go out of the comfort of their own homes with a little flourish to the typically cumbersome necessity. But before you buy one, it’s also a must that you understand the difference between a medical-grade PPE and protective gear.

Medical-Grade PPE

According to the World Health Organization, the medical-grade PPE “consists of garments placed to protect the health care workers or any other persons to get infected. If it is blood or airborne high infections, it will include face protection (such as goggles, mask or face shield), gloves, coverall, head cover, and rubber boots.” Hence, this special equipment will be able to create the right amount of barrier between the wearer and the virus.

But how exactly are the front liners being protected? Well, the PPE that they’re wearing is actually made of Tyvek fabric. When fashion designer Rajo Laurel was creating his first batch of PPEs to donate to hospitals, he said that it’s critical to use Tyvek fabric, which is a high-density polyethylene fiber, so it can protect oneself from any liquid or chemical. And the most interesting part of it is the liquid cannot even pass through the stitching, which is also crucial so that it will really protect the wearer of the garment. More so, what separates the medical-grade PPE from the protective layers that are all over the market now is that the hems and edges are sealed as opposed to stitched, further warding off any possible intrusion of foreign particles, as well as it being created in a highly sterile environment.

Protective Gear

After several fashion brands and designers have successfully donated (in fact, some are still even donating), we must understand that they also have a brand and company to keep afloat during these times of global economic recession. So, with the new-found knowledge on protecting our front liners by producing the necessary PPEs, they made another version of it that will protect everyone else from the virus.

And in this case, they’re not using the Tyvek fabric that’s needed to produce the medical-grade PPEs, which is good so that there will be no scarcity of the fabric in the market since this is critically needed by our modern heroes of today.

Now, protective gear is usually made of another type of fabric, not the high-density polyethylene fiber. But the rationale of producing these clothing is to help you protect yourself from the unwanted micro-organisms that could put your health in danger. So, think of it as another type of barrier. After all, there’s no harm in adding more protection, especially in these paranoia-stricken days.

While you can always argue that if it’s just another layer to add, then it’ll be easier and cheaper for you to just wear a coat over your clothes. Well, you’re right, you definitely can. However, if you’re looking for a garment that you can easily be washed and dried upon returning home, then these clothing that brands and designers produced will be your best bet—not your wool trench coat.

Where To Get One

One of the best protective gear collections that’s making rounds both locally and globally is Mark Bumgarner’s Armor Project. It’s an initiative for the brand and the people behind the studio to support our beloved industry while showing resilience and adapting to the new normal. In fact, we’ve already seen our favorite style savant, Heart Evangelista-Escudero, and heiress of the Swarovski empire, Victoria Swarovski, donning his sensibly stylish pieces.

With an understanding that every day is a battle during this pandemic, Rajo Laurel also started producing his own line of protective gear that you can pre-order. The best thing about it is Rajo’s aesthetic is still present in his own rendition. It’s still very feminine, laid back, and something that’s really breathable and not stiff. Plus, it’s available in four colors: white, black, navy, and maroon.

Rosenthal Tee is known for creating some of the most breathtaking bridal gowns in the industry. She understands the true meaning of elegance and class, and because of it, she magnificently incorporated these traits to her protective gear line that’s undeniably stunning such as this wrap dress coat.

Protective Gear PPE Rosenthal Tee

Designer to the stars Neric Beltran has already started creating jumpsuit-type protective gears for his clients. For him, “nothing is more fashionable than precaution. And in our own way, we’d love to be of service in safety and style.” He’s also accepting orders for PPEs custom to client specifications.

Fashion designer Avel Bacudio, who’s famed for his celebrity collaborations, is now producing his own protective gear as well. And one of our favorites in his new line is this unisex outdoor athleisure gear, which you can undoubtedly wear when you do your daily errands in the city.

Finally, the local fashion brand that has been teeming the industry with so many orders is Kamiseta. After the first run of their coverall protective gear, Kamiseta started venturing to other designs. Hence, you’ll notice that they also offer wrap dresses. And their latest one is oh-so-chic as it’s punctuated by ruffles.

Protective Gear Kamiseta
Heart Evangelista in Kamiseta

In the long run, we’re pretty sure there will be more designers and local brands who’ll offer their own take on the protective gear. Just remember that not all of these garments are medical-grade PPEs that our front liners use, so it’s always best to read first before purchasing. But regardless of whether you’re opting for a medical-grade PPE (which we hope you reserve for the tireless and tenacious health workers in the front lines) or protective gear, it won’t hurt to take necessary precautions and protect yourself from the virus. The choice is yours as always, but just make sure it is not only the right one, but also highly informed, because as we have come to understand and realize, one can never be too sure of anything these days, right?

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