Protective masks are quickly becoming fashion accessories for Indonesians and Malaysians who are keen to add some style to healthwear essentials as the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak doesn't seem to be easing anytime soon.
Bespoke masks are catching on in Indonesia, with customers ordering designs with their own faces printed on reusable neoprene material, some with smiling faces, or big red lips, like the one made for 46-year-old Heni Kusmijati, Reuters reported.
“When people see us, they seem to be wondering why we are smiling and laughing,” he said.
A Jakarta print shop added masks to its services after its sales slumped due to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 50,000 Indonesians and killed 2,620.
Customers place orders online and upload their pictures. Masks take 30 minutes to produce and each cost 50,000 rupiah ($3.50), income that has kept Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s business afloat.
“At the beginning, we were sceptical,” he said of making masks. “But later, the demand surged, and it helps us to recover the business loss.”
Malaysian textile designer Hafiz Drahman has masks made from soft cotton that include optional pockets for adding filters, crafted from his stocks of cloth decorated using wax and dye, an ancient tradition, according to Reuters.
“I began to see a new opportunity in making batik face masks because at that time, we were instructed to wear face masks for personal safety,” Hafiz said in his workshop in Shah Alam city.