Giving back to the Baton Rouge community

Grace holding fabric
Grace Chetta is the owner and founder of the Baton Rouge-based clothing line Gretta Garments.
Michael Bordelon

June of 2020 marked one year since Grace Chetta launched her clothing brand, Gretta Garments. Chetta graduated in 2016 with a degree in Textiles, Apparel Design & Merchandising.

Owning a clothing brand had been a lifelong dream of Chetta’s. After years of collecting vintage fabric and gaining experience within the apparel industry, she launched her small business.

Chetta shared that her first year of owning her business has exceeded her expectations.

“The Baton Rouge community has been wonderful to my business,” says Chetta. “I’ve done better than I could have ever imagined in my first year.”

When the COVID-19 outbreak hit Louisiana, there was a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). One of the supplies that the Baton Rouge community needed was cotton face masks.

“Hospitals in the area were asking for donations to help fill the shortage of masks. I heard about the call for masks from several of my colleagues,” said Chetta.

Along with the shortage of PPE, there was a shortage of raw materials to create face masks.

However, Chetta was well-equipped to help supply face masks. Her collection of vintage fabric for Gretta Garments meant she already had an ample supply of 100% cotton fabric, which she used to sew her masks.

Another material that was essential for making masks was in short supply — elastic. Elastic is used to secure the mask around the wearer’s ears.

Chetta used her prior experience with dance to think of an innovative solution to this issue.

“I used an old trick I learned from dance. I took the elastic we used for our tights and cut it for the face masks,” says Grace. “The elastic used in dance tights is a lot easier to come by.”

During the pandemic outbreak, Chetta donated many of her masks to Baton Rouge General and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Chetta continues to make and sell masks for the Baton Rouge community. She adopted the one-for-one business model for Gretta Garments. For every mask that Chetta sells through Gretta Garments, she donates a mask to a hospital in the Baton Rouge area.

Chetta plans to continue her education at LSU and will be entering the Master of Business Administration program this fall.

Written by Annabelle Stokes

Colorful face mask
Face masks sewn from vintage fabric.
Grace Chetta