Northern Ireland news

From couture to hospital wear - fashion designer making scrubs for NHS

Dr Sam Sloan a surgeon at the City Hospital pick up scrubs from fashion designer Reudi Maguire.

AN award-winning fashion designer has said he loves to hear feedback from the NHS workers he is helping cloth as part of an effort to help with the coronavirus crisis.

From couture to hospital wear, Ruedi Maguire started making scrubs at his Lisburn Road studio just over a week ago, after hearing there was a shortage of essential garments for hospital staff.

He is bringing his unique skills to the volunteer effort ongoing throughout Northern Ireland as local businesses change their production lines to help out the health service.

A star of RTE 2's The Fitting Room, the fashion designer, originally from Co Tyrone but now based in Belfast, is known for his bespoke bridal and occasion wear.

However, the window of his Lisburn Road premises, usually saved for his latest designer creation, is now proudly displaying a set of his hand made hospital scrubs.

"I have been designing high end garments for the last 10 years and over the last few years I have been focusing on bridal and occasion wear," he said.

"The scrubs are relatively simple to put together it’s just time consuming to make sure they are correct and perfectly finished.

"The process is much like that in a factory, we cut the set of 16 from a full roll of fabric and get straight to sewing.

"My husband Paul has been helping me make the scrubs, without him I wouldn't be achieving 16 sets a day.

"I may have to involve him in future projects as he's surprised me with his hidden talent for using the overlocking machine.

"From start to finish this process takes nine hours with one 20 min lunch break."

The cancellation of large gatherings, including weddings that make up the majority of the designer's trade, meant his business came to a standstill.

However, he said he's confident once the crisis passes he can rebuild his successful company and in the meantime he isn't letting his skills go to waste.

"In comparison to my usual work one garment can take months, maybe even a year to complete as there are multiple design consultations and fittings required to end up with the perfect fit.

"I have been contacted by almost all of the hospitals in the north as the scrubs shortage continues.

"Having only started this on Friday of last week I have managed to complete 90 sets of scrubs reaching the Mater Hospital, the Royal, the City and the Ulster hospital with a few spare for community nurses.

"The feed back so far is that they are the most luxurious well fitting scrubs ever worn.

"And I love hearing this", he added.

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