There's a lot that wedding dresses and Ebola have in common: They're expensive, take a long time to put on and both feature a facial shield to protect one's physical and emotional integrity. That's why it should surprise no one that a wedding designer will be debuting an Ebola suit during New York Fashion Week.
Jill Andrews, the designer who helped a team at Johns Hopkins build the suit, said that just like wedding gowns, an Ebola protection suit is all about engineering. In a statement, Andrews said "if you can build a bra you can build a bridge." That applies to hazard suits as well, it seems, because Andrews' very yellow, very fashion-forward creation is not only stylish (as far as Ebola suits go) but also better than any safety suit before it, featuring design innovations never seen before.
Aside from being form-fitting and flattering, the new suit is fully integrated and is just one piece instead of five, allowing for the reduction of contamination points (only 10 to the earlier suit's 28) and a shorter removal time. While it took more than 20 minutes to remove such a hazard suit in the past, now wearers can remove everything in five minutes and eight steps (as opposed to 31).
Andrews, who loves a challenge and enjoyed working with the Johns Hopkins team, says that there isn't too much that's different between the world of weddings and the world of infectious diseases currently scaring the shit out of America.
"It's a different medium, but it's very much in the same world," Andrews told ABC News, explaining that designing modest gowns for the rigorous dancing of Orthodox Jewish weddings, for instance, is also a challenge.
"There are lots of interesting things that people come up with that you'd be surprised," she said, "especially when I was working in the theater. I had an actress that had to do a handstand in a gown while wearing a corset."
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