Face masks have joined the list of essentials in this situation of a Covid-19 pandemic. And tapping on this opportunity are high street fashion brands and home-grown ethnic brands. From masks in colourful patterns to dark muted tones for a professional look, brands are killing it and have flooded the internet space advertising these reusable masks.
Mansi Gupta, founder of an apparel, footwear and jewellery brand, Tjori, says, “We have been producing kalamkari print masks as they complement Indian wear. It’s not that the virus will just go away, it might be a year-long phenomenon and the world cannot live in the shut down for so long, we had to look at the positive side and decided to take mask production beyond the boring white and yellow colours and make them interesting and fun.”
To also match the mask designs with ethnic-wear is another home-grown fashion brand, Vastrique that is now producing non-medical masks to ensure regular business. Founder, Shekhar Gupta says, “Pandemic has shaken the entire nation. Under lockdown, business was impacted as no delivery and pickups were happening. We had to pay to our workforce also. So we decided to cater to the need and produce essential items. We started with masks with different prints, patterns and design and got a good response.”
Also, WorldArtCommunity, a forum where artists and designers showcase their work for direct purchase is helping local artisans in such challenging times. In an Instagram post, the brand shared, “We’ve partnered with our artisans to bring you hand-made, eco-friendly, re-usable cotton fabric face covers in attractive designs, colours and prints suitable for everyday use. As we adapt to the new normal – we’re also creating income opportunities for artisans to sustain themselves in these deeply challenging times.”
Online jewellery store Voylla too switched its production line and started offering printed masks on its platform from mid-April and is getting thousands of orders. Commenting on the designs and patterns, Vishwas Shringi, founder, says, “We have an in-house design team of 15 people who come up with ideas and styles for designer masks. Although during lockdown it is hard to source anything, we are fortunate that we are in Jaipur, where Sanganeri prints is easily available. So, we could easily access the vibrant colours with good prints on them.” The brand also plans to offer gloves soon.
Catering to the need of working professionals who need to follow strict dress code are also a few brands manufacturing masks to match the formal attire. Vishak Kumar, CEO – Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, feels that as we get used to wearing masks through the day, it is important that the mask reflects the aesthetic choices of the wearer. He says, “Peter England created masks that match different moods and usage occasions, to help the wearer look and feel great, while providing safety.”
An online fashion shopping store, Fab Alley, is ensuring masks with soft elastic earloops are comfortable to wear for long hours. The co-founders Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar believe that going forward, masks are going to become an important aspect of our everyday outfits and these masks combine functionality with fashion in a preppy and stylish way.
Moreover, those who want to make funky, style statement, there are several online portals such as Bewakoof.com and BeAwara.com that have also come up with quirky quotes on masks. Some of the messages include, ‘dur reh”, ‘stay away’, ‘If you’re reading this, you’re too close’, ‘Quarantine and chill’, among other unique designs.
And it’s not just big brands manufacturing masks, Jyoti Wason, a resident of Janakpuri who runs a boutique, has received a bulk order to produce masks. She says, “Going forward, I’m also anticipating getting requests for masks to match the print of outfits.”
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