As we learn to live with the pandemic that is not expected to go away anytime soon, the masks have become the ubiquitous protective accessory to curb the spread of COVID-19. And this absolute necessity does give them the power to lead the narrative of our identity as they become part of everyday and cultural affairs and by default, our sartorial selves too.
When it comes to protective masks, it’s better to leave out the surgical masks and N95 masks for healthcare professionals, essential workers, and at-risk individuals. This leaves us with humble cloth masks for our humble souls. And they do happen to be the best ones for us to wear, after all, they are soft and comfortable, reusable and washable, and much more suited to the current hot, humid weather. Their functional yet less intimidating design aesthetics have caught the eye of quite a few Indian brands and designers who are now making these cloth masks in varied strengths with their signature aesthetics injected into the design equation. Such as Torani’s inimitable chintz, or Satya Paul’s understated print playfulness.
While they all started the mask-making with the view of sustaining their businesses and creative dignity of artisanal community, some of them are also donating masks and/or profits to healthcare and other essential workers or marginalized communities. From Nor Black Nor White to Shivan & Narresh, and Ekaya, Péro, and Yavï (together in collaboration with Moon River and Elan) – they all are making an effort to support community initiatives and non-profit organizations like Goonj, Dharavi Art Room, and Karwan-e-Mohabbat. Then we also have You Can Free Us, an international human rights organization, joining in with masks that have been handcrafted by women saved from modern slavery. And well, you can always chip in with your love or purchase.
Whether you are waiting in line at the grocery store, going for a run around the block, or heading to work, these masks will be there covering up a fair portion of your face to protect you and others. So, in case, you are looking for some aesthetically pleasing, yet protective masks, scroll through the gallery for a selection of effective cloth masks served with a side of flair.
P.S. If you know of any other Indian brands making and/or donating masks, please feel free to tag them and share their initiatives in the comments below.
Karishma is an engineer turned fashion stylist and writer who loves talking about trends as much as eating desserts. Gucci, Ranveer Singh, salted caramel ice-cream and lipsticks make up four chambers of her heart. Like Karishma’s story? Drop her a line in the comments section below.