Covid-19 took us all by surprise, no doubt. First detected in Wuhan, 2019, its global spread led to lockdowns within many countries. The virus causing COVID-19, is transmitted primarily through droplets produced when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or exhales. If you are close to someone who has COVID-19, or had contact with a contaminated surface you may become infected by breathing in the virus. Hence, the many governments throughout the world have encouraged people to observe basic hygienic measures such as the washing and sanitisation of hands, as well as the usage of face masks.
Within a few months since the outbreak, a safeguard majorly utilised in South East Asia, became a worldwide application. Many countries mandated wearing face masks or cloth face coverings when going out. This aids in curbing the virus whilst protecting the potentially infected from unknowingly transmitting it to others. Although the end is not even remotely in sight, it has led to speculations to the future of face masks. Is it time for face masks to make its debut to the fashion world? With the lockdown still effective and everyone urged to stay home, it is still a bit early to say yes. However, it won’t hurt to be prepared. Since we are all staying in, why not spare some time to fashion out some ‘Gucci’ face masks?
Surgical Face Masks / N-95 Respirators
Surgical masks are crafted in various thicknesses, capable of shielding liquid contact. Used correctly, they avoid large-particle droplets or sprinkling that may involve germs (viruses and bacteria) from touching the surface of the mouth or nose. It is worn mostly by health professionals and is the most attainable to the public for general use. However, they are not reusable. Bulk purchases would be needed to keep up to demand, depending on your frequency of going out. Hence, it could be deemed as financially UNREASONABLE. Not to mention, their bleak pale blue color may not really match one’s wardrobe.
The N95 respirator on the other hand, is a respiratory device designed to ensure that air contaminants are very tightly fit and filtered efficiently. If fitted correctly, the N95 respirator’s filtration capacity exceeds the face mask capacity. Nevertheless, many governments have requested for prioritisation of these respirators for the use of health workers in the frontline, as they are exposed to more risk. Like the surgical mask they can only be used once which again leads to the question of expenditure.
So how can you protect yourself (and others) while looking your best?
Cloth Face Coverings
Through the shortage of surgical face masks, clothed face coverings have been suggested as an alternative. Cloth coverings made of household items crafted at home, signifies low cost and can be used in the absence of face masks. For a more simpler look, a scarf can be tightly wrapped around your neck, to protect the nose and mouth. Extra caution must be taken to ensure that the scarf is extra snug around the face with no room for foreign particles to enter.
Scarves come in a variety of fabrics, acrylic (the knit types), polyester, rayon blends or silk are the majority of the scarves sold in shops. Pashmina scarves are the world’s most popular option. A high quality polyester fabric in a textured crepe or georgette is decent enough. Chiffon too, is perfect because it’s flexible and smooth, and similarly to silk which displays for poise and flare. However, if you would like to add some weight to the scarf, you can use thin cotton like voile to make the scarves.
When it comes to scarf designs, one can juggle between solids and prints. Perhaps when wearing solid colors for clothes it can be combined with a print design scarf and vice versa. With enforcement of the movement control order, scarves can be ordered online. If you are one to own a sewing machine, you could even sew one for yourself. Online purchased fabrics or recycled clothing can be utilised. Speaking of recycling, there are two ways you can use your old clothes to fashion out a cute face mask: the no-sew and sew method.
No-sew Face Masks
The only materials you’d need for these are scissors, rubber bands/hair ties and coffee filters. With these, you can make your very own face masks using a t-shirt or bandana/handkerchief, at the comforts of home. Spice it up by using printed t-shirts or colorful handkerchiefs.
Sewn Face Masks
If you own a sewing machine, this can be a good way to pass the time. Using old fabric or your unused clothes, new face masks can be crafted at ease. Furthermore, you are at your own disposal to organize your wardrobe and sew face masks according to your clothing style. If you’re keen on trying this as your next DIY project, this Youtube video may be of interest: DIY Face Mask – 2 Styles .
Itching to get some online shopping done but don’t know what to buy whilst you’re stuck at home? It’s time to add face masks to that empty shopping cart. For people, critical staff and medical professionals, brands such as Hanky Panky, Smoko, Tilit etc, are stepping up to manufacture face masks. Amazon too is a great platform to acquire face masks. Moreover, Etsy, a site which supplied homemade crafts, is also in stock of a variety of beautiful face masks sewn by many talented individuals. Not to mention, many of these brands and individuals are selling under a great cause, contributing the proceedings towards the fight against Covid-19!
It is important to note that during this pandemic we should prioritise our health and the health of others over everything else. Therefore, it is good to be smart and not forgo safety over looks during these critical times. However, these two can co-exist together! Get creative to make your own mask. Don’t forget to research the correct materials and methods so as to ensure that you not only look good but your health is protected as well. Lastly, we acknowledge that there is no better alternative than the medical protection offered by certified health masks. However, it is always better to protect yourself at the best possible if you’re unable to acquire constant supply of surgical masks. Plus, it’s a way you could spend your time creating something for yourself and your family. With that, stay safe and stay home!
Written by Mariyam Sarah Fath Hulla, Style Section Writer.