INDIA. Face masks have become the epitome of virus control universally. During the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s and later during the avian and swine flu epidemics, face masks became a go-to defensive measure for people.
However, what started as safety gear has become the fashion world’s latest style thanks to COVID-19. Face masks have been attaining popularity as a creative idiom.
An industry on the rise
Since April the universal demand for face masks has boomed.
“Fashion is and has always been a way of life. Today, while we are amidst one of the biggest pandemics, fashion has caught the winds of sail. Masks are now a fashion symbol. We too are customizing masks with loungewear and outerwear and are offering multiple mask combos for our fashion-conscious customers,” said Akhil Jain, Executive Director of Gurugram-based fashion brand Madame.
Talking about how masks have taken over shelves, Jain said, “The production capacity has been optimized with a new forecast of achieving 75% business as of last year and we aim to manufacture and sell close to 40,000 fashion masks in the coming quarter. We as an industry have to cope with the situation and are attempting to make every adversity an opportunity for us. If masks are what our customers are demanding, then that shall be.”
Reason for the season: A pandemic
During such vague and hectic times, making the best of the situation is a necessity. If one must wear a mask out in public by law, then why not use one that makes the wearer feel good?
Mr. Jai Dhar Gupta, Founder of Nirvana Being and the citizen movement My Right to Breathe, expressed, “With the coronavirus spreading like wildfire, we need massive adoption of mask-wearing behavior with masks that people actually enjoy wearing.”
“I strongly feel design has become an important factor in our lives as a way to cope with the new reality that we live in. The pandemic has brought out a lot of authentic self-expression in people and people embrace the necessity of wearing protection in public with a sense of style. They look for chic face masks designs that will allow them to feel confident and safe in public,” Gupta continued.
“We at Nirvana Being have come up with masks for the discerning eye which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing to make it a fashion-forward accessory. If we have to live with this pandemic, having a wide range of masks will soon become as common as having multiple pairs of shoes or even t-shirts for that matter. Breathability and filtration efficacy are paramount to help people adapt to this new normal. The style factor needs to be incorporated as well.”
Deep Bajaj, the founder and CEO of Bodyguard, said, “In coping with the pandemic, people have actively adapted to the situation. Hygiene, respiratory protection, and other things that became necessities in the last few months are now an inseparable part of fashion.”
In India, people are having designer masks made to match their dresses. It has become huge in the country’s bustling bridal industry and wedding dress trends. This has also worked well for the handicraft industry and social organizations, for whom mask making has opened a new world of opportunities.
The medical face mask concept has changed with time but there is a growing incentive to further improve the design for protection, acceptability, and style.