Invented in the era of 1960s, surgical masks, also known as face masks were intended to be worn by health professionals during operations and other healthcare procedures. They were designed to prevent infections in patients. And, to prevent catching bacteria shed in liquid droplets from the wearer’s mouth and nose. These surgical face masks were for health professionals. So, the common textiles face masks were for the common public to help in disease source control. So, it would not be wrong to term face masks as a shield for health workers in the pre-COVID era.
However, the year 2020 brought a drastic change in this thought process. Back in the last month of the year 2019, a patient with a severe respiratory illness was found in Wuhan city of China. And, was reported to the World health organization on 31st December 2019. A month later, WHO declared COVID 19 outbreak a global health emergency. Moreover, it was a thing to worry as the disease could spread from person to person through small droplets from nose or mouth. So, this was the time when face masks became the need of an hour to stop the spread of this virus. In an attempt to slow down the spread of novel coronavirus, more than fifty countries have made wearing face masks mandatory in public spaces. These include Vietnam, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Colombia, India, Poland, Pakistan, and many others. Hence, at present, the face masks are not only a shield for the health professionals but for the common people as well.
The Coronavirus is communicable and as per the statements of WHO, the risk of infection will prevail for at least one year so face masks are a necessity these days. Thanks to the fashion industry which found a creative way to deal with this pandemic. Realizing this critical situation, the fashion industry has come up with an idea of fashionable masks. No one would have ever thought face masks could also be a thing to experiment and that’s what fashion is! You never know what’s going to be trendy next. These masks look different- made of printed or colored fabric, they are nothing close to the old fashioned grey, black, or white masks. It goes without saying the mask-culture will prevail for a long time, So why not make masks as an object of desire or trend? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people all over the world to be more accepting of the type of mask culture, the designers were a little unsure to add face masks to their clothing brands. But, as soon as those bold, colorful masks were introduced, they were sold within hours. You need to surf the internet and you will find thousands of designer face masks from various designers. Nitya Bajaj, a Delhi based fashion designer has created quirky and creative face masks using the scrap cloth from her factory. They were quilted, lined with silk, and handcrafted with lacework with a soft and skin-friendly elastic band. Moreover, another popular name in the fashion industry, Masaba Gupta is creating masks with her unique touch. Her masks feature bright colors and happy prints that are a signature of the brand. Another latest trend that seems to have made its way to India in the face print face mask. These masks have a print or photograph of the person wearing it which is innovative and a new idea. Today, this trend has started in several cities however it first originated in few studios of Chennai’s Pallavaram. In an interaction with a studio owner, he stated, “Our business has been completely down due to lockdown for the past months. Now we have opened the studio to sell personalized masks. The thought of helping people and how trendy the idea is exciting.” Early this year in February, a fashion brand called Marine Serre launched a collection of fashionable face masks and termed them “work for future wear”. Another studio in Belgium created a series of masks by reusing the material of old sneakers.
Prints, jewel, florals, all fashion statements have always set trends in the fashion industry. These face masks when tied up with fashion, are making the best face mask for men and classy face masks for women. Masks are something that’s taking over half one’s face, so everyone wants to make a statement with it. Face masks are a new way of smiling. The distinct leopard pattern or the cute smiles will make somebody else smile underneath their own mask. The masks have become a new must-have accessory. Be it a casual walk or a wedding, masks are mandatory everywhere. Today, even the brides and the grooms are getting masks stitched in contrast with their wedding outfits.
Moreover, these fashionable masks are a boon for the kids. The mind of a child is fragile. Their emotions have an impact on their future and your words shape their destiny. The little ones' minds are like clay. It will get molded in the direction you mold them. Their life revolves around flowers and fairy tales. Hence, they always expect a happy ending. At such a crucial and young age it is often difficult for children to comprehend what the world is going through. They love colors, they love cartoon caricatures and this is what they want their life to be surrounded by. Even the psychiatrists don’t advise the parents of the young ones to introduce them to this harsh reality of the world as it can create terror in their minds. I have seen a case where a girl of around five is neither able to study nor able to concentrate on other daily activities because the terror of corona stuck in her mind. She is always afraid and terrified that she might be infected with corona disease and would die soon. Introducing children to reality is important. But, at the same time, it is also important to make it in a child-friendly manner. And, these designer face masks will be helpful in doing so. Safety is a must and in the present time, face masks are humanities best friend and everyone loves fashion also, be it a kid or an adult. Kids are often attracted to cartoon caricatures. Hence, on tying these face masks with fashion, it makes it a little more palatable for children wearing them for the first time.
Talking in terms of business, it is a golden business opportunity for companies and entrepreneurs in the world of fashion. When China was infected with SARS and MERS 15 years ago, people in Hong Kong, China, and Japan started wearing masks to protect themselves but also to protect them. And not only was mask-wearing ubiquitous, but this is also a part of the world where people love fashion. Apart from setting fashion trends, this also acts as a weapon to cover up all the losses faced by corporate firms due to lockdown and corona pandemic all over the world. Every coin has two sides, it depends on an individual which way he or she sees and so is with the situation. While the world is sitting at home due to lockdown in various parts of the world, the corporate sector came up with an idea of the designer reusable masks. And, this idea of theirs is sure to boost up their sales.
Fashion is an art and people are equivalent to the canvas. It’s never going to stop but will just transform its colors and themes as per the need. These designer face masks are the new fashion. Every new fashion statement becomes a trend in no time. Though this corona pandemic is a big mess for all of us however we have to deal with it. Moreover, new prints and styles have always been welcomed by people all over the world. The designers believe that coronavirus is a long drawn battle. Therefore, this culture of fashionable face masks is the future at least for another year. These masks, no doubt, are a necessity to bring the condition back to normal. And, by making them fashionable, it has given these masks a more of a sassy and classy look. Regardless, it is good that people are at least wearing it, does it matter whether they are wearing it for safety or to flaunt it?
Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the idea of fashionable masks is an innovative trend and a great gift to the citizens from the “WORLD OF FASHION”.
By Ishita Rai