The Covid coat offers upcycled protection

by | Jun 11, 2020

Cape Town-based design and manufacturing studio, The Sewing Café, is taking care of front-liners and commuters to help keep them safe with these affordable, practical, comfortable and easy-to-sanitise coats and suits made from upcycled banner ads.

The Sewing Café’s Athene Knemeyer says the coat concept was born from two ideas: old banner adverts sitting atop a landfill, and protecting public transport users as work resumed nationwide on 1 May.

Each coat is unique and made and designed in Masiphumelele in collaboration with Apollo Brands. Covid coats are available to the general public for R500 and Covid suits are available for R450. Covid coats and suits are for sale to frontline workers and people travelling to and from work on public transport for cost price of R250 (jacket) and R225 (suit).

“I wanted to keep the jackets accessible and affordable. That’s when I thought about Lorrianne [Cloete, owner of Apollo Brand] and the banners. I sent her a picture of a sample we had made and she immediately agreed to work with us and so on the 3rd of June, the Covid coat was born!”

“Ever since watching the documentary ‘The True Cost’ I look at this industry with a much more critical eye. Just before the lockdown happened a client asked me to make some masks for him and his company. We quickly made a few hundred but the orders didn’t seem to stop and so at the 11th hour I organised a permit and we continued to work throughout the lockdown. We were so busy during those first three weeks of lockdown I think we made close on 10000 masks!” says Athene.

The Sewing Café started sourcing the material for their Covid coats through Lorrianne who is the official distributor of  several international brands in South Africa. Lorrainne has contact with companies who use fabric banners for their advertising campaigns. However, because The Sewing Café is a not-for-profit initiative that relies on the supply of raw material they are calling for donations of fabric banners.

If you would like to donate, The Sewing Café is looking for old, discarded ad banner fabric of any shape and size which can be dropped off at their premises at 1 Chasmay Road Sunnydale (close to Fish Hoek). You can also call Athene to collect anywhere in Cape Town.

  • To place an order email or call Athene 0722957074
  • To donate fabrics please inbox Athene or email
  • For product enquiries email
  • Funds generated by the CMT are used to train unskilled and unemployed people from Masiphumelele and Ocean View
  • Images supplied

*Disclaimer: These are not medically certified / approved PPE garments

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