Top Manta

Pandemic Urbanism

Barcelona’s Street Vendors Produce Face Masks for Local Hospitals

In these difficult times, the Barcelona street vendors from Top Manta have turned their store in the El Raval neighbourhood into a sewing workshop. The place produces materials for Catalan hospitals such as masks and medical gowns.

Normally, the so-called mantera have a dressmaking workshop, where they make pieces for the Top Manta store collection, as well as making and stamping orders for other businesses. They have developed professional dressmaking skills which now, in the face of the coronavirus crisis, they decided to use to assist medical personnel.

Top Manta
Those who work by selling their goods on the street find themselves without a job. Photo Top Manta

Starting with only 8 sewing machines and their own fabrics (now, 20 industrial machines), they have created around a thousand masks and counting, whilst obeying the 1.5-metre distance between the workers and all the occupational health and safety regulations. They continue their work by joining the initiative started by RobinHat, a surgical cap company, and the Sentmenat City Council, which has already gathered over 2,000 volunteers across the country.

Top Manta
The street vendors have created around a thousand masks and counting. Photo Top Manta

“We’re part of the community and need to contribute during these difficult times”

Lamine Sarr, union co-founder

The Spanish street vendors are one of the many groups affected by the coronavirus crisis, that in Spain is particularly serious. Those who work by selling their goods on the street find themselves without a job. Therefore, a solidarity food bank has been also launched to help the families of street vendors who have found themselves out of work.


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