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Dress Designer Switches Gears, Helps Create New Ebola Protective Suit

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- The most unusual outfit to debut at fashion week is one that you probably don't want to see anyone wearing.

WCBS-880's Alex Silverman spoke with a wedding dress designer who stepped way out of her comfort zone.

Jill Andrews is not a doctor, she's not a nurse, she's just someone who has had the same thought as a lot of us.

"Every time I've been in the hospital or something like that, I've always thought, 'oh, man I gotta make something better here. Something's got to change,'" she said.

When she saw that Johns Hopkins wanted help creating a new Ebola suit, she decided to participate.

It wouldn't be too different from the wedding dresses that she's designed for years.

"Bring my knowledge of how the body works and how garments sit," she said.

Most people have probably seen the current version of the suit.

"Looked very similar to something a house painter would wear. it had a hood with elastic around the face," she said, "Two sets of gloves, face mask, eye shields, goggles, an apron."

Dress Designer Switches Gears, Helps Create New Ebola Protective Suit

Her prototype is all one piece, more form fitting, and very yellow.

"It's definitely bright, but it's a little bit more puncture resistant," she explained.

Andrews' suit can be removed in a quarter of the time, with just 8 steps instead of the old 31, but what she is most proud of is the big clear window that shows the healthcare worker's entire face.

"There's a little bit more eye contact, and it's less scary," she said.

Andrews said the suit is more humane. Maybe that's what you get when you ask someone who's used to dressing people on there best days to design for the worst.

"Allows for people to be more empathetic, and I think that's really such an important contribution," she said.

Andrews said it's all about the engineering. If you can build a bra, you can build a bridge.


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