With the deadly COVID-19 taking over our lives, people all over the nation are buying masks and proudly wearing it. As the pandemic continues to spread we don’t know for how long we will have to wear them, maybe even after the pandemic is over masks will still be worn as a protection against disease and pollution? However, people are finding ways even to make the boring but essential piece of cloth which covers most of our features look beautiful.
One such person is mask-woman Suchi Ta, who has used her creativity in making designer masks that are gaining popularity and is giving employment to the daily wage workers who have been worst hit due to the nationwide lockdown. SheThePeople.TV spoke to Suchi Ta, who is a social worker, fashion designer, and an artist. She runs an NGO which is making masks during this lockdown by engaging daily wage workers.
How did you get the idea of making a designer mask? Did any customer demand it?
Seeing the conditions of the workers, I really wanted to help them and that’s when the idea of making masks and distributing them came to my mind. With this, they get work and money, and we are also able to meet the shortage of masks. Being an artist and a fashion designer, I tried to give it a different touch and people loved it. I thought, after all, this piece will cover your face it should look beautiful!
How much is the price difference between a regular mask and a designer mask?
There are different varieties and accordingly, the prices vary, in the case of regular masks. We keep prices keeping in mind that the workers get a good amount as the main aim here is to help them. The minimum price is Rs 40 for pure cotton masks. Other masks are of mulmul, vimal cotton, blaze cotton, rayon, and accordingly the price varies. And whatever price it is, we give the mask a proper finish and never compromise on quality so that people are comfortable wearing it on regular basis.
Out of the two varities which mask is higher in demand now, plain or designer?
People are buying designer masks more now. They prefer plain masks only for official purposes now.
Does a designer mask require more and different material than a regular mask?
Yes, they require more material as we make three layers in it and there are numerous designs. First is the outermost layer which is of 100% cotton as it is medically approved and this is the layer where the design is made. The second layer is a filter layer and the last layer is of Mulmul fabric which is extremely soft as it has to be in direct contact with skin.
Do you face any difficulty in arranging material for designer masks since it is lockdown and getting material for regular makes is already difficult?
Initially, it was very difficult to convince people to supply us with material as no one was ready to go out due to the lockdown and fear of the disease. Then explaining the details of the material required on the phone was an altogether different struggle. It even led to a lot of wastage. But eventually, things have settled. I don’t have to explain much on the phone now. Things are better now and there is minimal wastage.
Do people tell you what kind of designs they want on masks so that it matches their dresses?
Not yet since they don’t have to go out much. Presently, they select from the variety of designs that we provide.
Is it difficult to make designs on masks?
No, it is not difficult to make designs on it since we use pure cotton in the front layer. In fact, we love to make designs on these masks because it can be easily done.
How much time does it take to get one designer mask ready?
It takes around 15 minutes to get one designer mask ready.
For how long do you think these designer masks will be popular?
I think these will be in trend for long. If not a virus then it would be pollution from which people will need protection. And at a personal level, it is masks that would help hence, they will be in trend or I would say they would be an essential item. And now, since they are coming in designs people would love to pair them up with their dresses.
Saumya Tiwari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV