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Charlotte designer turning shirts into masks

Luis Machicao has been shipping orders across the country to help provide personal protective equipment.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte based designer went from making high fashion gowns to making masks.

Luis Machicao says it's some of the most rewarding work he's ever done.

"Life changed completely," he said. “Started a couple weeks ago. I got a couple t-shirts, went online, and found a nice pattern.”

He used every t-short in his house. As the demand grew with requests from New York City hospitals, Southwest Airlines and more, he had to get creative.

“We went to Walmart to get t-shirts," he said. "We were able to make 250 masks and send them to New York.”

Machicao is the only designer in Charlotte who shows at Paris Fashion Week each year. He happened to be in the city of lights when the coronavirus hit.

He teaches at Chapel Hill and was waiting on his students to arrive for a special 10 day field trip.

“Then I found out by email. When I landed, the flight was cancelled. I had 10 days to kill in Paris," he said.

He got one of the last flights home before the borders closed. He has been making masks ever since.

“It’s crazy but at least I'm doing something," he said. "You need to do something tangible. The time to help is right now.”

He says making the masks is actually pretty similar to making a wedding gown… with one big difference.

“I’m still working with my sewing machine. It's just the value," he said. "I’m doing something that might save a life - - literally can save a life.”

If you'd like more information, check out his Instagram: @luismachicao

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