65-year-old designer launches line of fashionable COVID-19 protective masks, vests

Masks have become part of our everyday wardrobe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they can leave us missing the faces of those we care about most.

In this week's Art of Aging, Tamala Edwards meets a local fashion designer and Project Runway finalist who's designed a way for people's personalities to shine through.

Nancy Volpe Beringer started sewing at age 12, but it wasn't until she turned 58 that she left her job to realize her true passion.

She enrolled at Drexel University and became a fashion designer at age 61.

"One of the things I love about being a designer, especially at my age, is that I'm a fearless designer," says Volpe Beringer. "I learn about what a fabric wants to become and how I can
push it."

That fearlessness led her to become a finalist on season 18 of "Project Runway."

"Here I was at age 64, being the oldest ever contestant on the show. It changed my life forever, says Volpe Beringer. "Fear doesn't have to stop you."

She carried this philosophy into her latest designs - offering fashionable protection from COVID19.

"I'm going to be a grandmother in five weeks and I'm keeping myself as safe as possible," Volpe Beringer explains.

She has created both vests and masks for her collection.

Volpe Beringer is offering two different styles of vests for purchase online. There is an 'at risk' and 'I'm high risk' to give people in public a gentle reminder to keep their distance and stay six feet apart.

Masks are also available through her online shop.

Volpe Beringer says, "What I love about my mask is how it's all inclusive. It will fit any face."

The extra-long elastic makes it adaptable and provides a nice fit. Another convenient feature is the neck lanyard. This allows for the mask to stay with you when you need to remove it.

Volpe Beringer says the mask that allows people to share their smiles keeps her motivated during her 12- to 15-hour workdays.

"Two of my followers asked me if I could make a mask with a clear opening - One was a nurse at Children's Hospital working with young children and the other with the deaf community," she says.

She originally started making free masks for CoverAid PHL, but so many people wanted them, she decided to add them to her rainbow collection.

"I was blessed at my age to be able to pursue this dream and I wanted to be able to give back through my fashion," says Volpe Beringer. "Everybody is gravitating towards it. People wanting to share their
smile and I just love it."

You can check out Beringer's line of COVID-19 protection at www.nancyvolpeberinger.com
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