Buffalo’s premier costuming company, DC Theatricks, has been making a different sort of mask during the downtime. Owner Dave DeJac felt that his business was perfectly positioned to transition into a COVID-19 protective mask making operation. DeJac kicked into gear pretty quickly, and began to crank out the masks – thousands, in fact.
“Yeah, even though we’ve made all kinds of things including unusual masks over the years, this is something completely new and unusual. Right before everything shut down we were supposed to be getting started on a couple of costumes for The Masked Singer national tour, So it’s kind of ironic to be switched over to making these kind of masks. We’ve made several thousand already, they’re going all over the country,” said DeJac.
Mask making wasn’t the only idea that came to mind, according to DeJac. He told me that they had also considered making hospital gowns, but the effort fell flat.
“We looked at making masks early on but we didn’t want to make the same type of masks that everyone else was making, so we looked at making hospital gowns since NY State was asking companies for help. As a garment manufacturer, we felt that we were better equipped to do those. We developed patterns and made some samples, but it all fell apart after finding that the large amounts of fabric we would need were drying up rapidly and re-hiring a labor pool became very difficult with the extra unemployment payments that went into effect.”
Seeing the gown making effort unravel, it became clear that they needed to come up with a better plan, with a new product.
“We didn’t have any other ideas of what we could do for a while, but then I saw an article about a Japanese lingerie company making masks instead of bras,” noted DeJac. “Once I saw the fabric they were using, everything kind of clicked together in my head. They were using a fabric that we had used for an off Broadway show a couple of years ago. The fabric has unique properties but it’s very difficult to work with. We had to make many fitted overcoats for a world premiere show written by David Byrne of the Talking Heads. We had to come up with very specialized ways in working with this fabric so we became pretty good at using it. We still had some of the fabric left, so I looked at some designs online that were similar and started making mock-ups until we came up with a design we liked.”
Once they got the handle on making the ideal safety masks, DeJac and his team set about designing some masks that better reflect the history of DC Theatricks as a theatrical mask making business.
“We’ve had people request more fashionable masks since they’ll be going out in public soon enough,” said DeJac. “We’ve been working on some brighter colors, and some with rhinestone decoration. A little more costume oriented. We started getting them out there to friends and relatives, and most were pleased with them compared to other masks they’ve worn.”
DC Theatricks is currently selling their original colored masks online, and will soon be uploading their new designs, such as the super sparkly rhinestone mask. They will also be adding full color logos for businesses this week. All of these items can be ordered on the website with free shipping – bulk pricing with local pickup is also available for businesses and organizations, mentioned DeJac.
It’s good to see Buffalo businesses doing whatever it takes to provide various forms of relief to people in need. That said, there’s no reason that people can’t add a little pizzazz to their daily mask routines. For those who are looking to up their mask game, DC Theatricks has got them covered.