Fashionable masks a hit as Indonesians, Malaysians seek style in safety - GulfToday

Fashionable masks a hit as Indonesians, Malaysians seek style in safety


A vendor sits near a face design masks display at a traditional market in Jakarta, Indonesia.

With no sign of the global coronavirus threat easing anytime soon, protective masks are fast becoming fashion accessories for Indonesians and Malaysians keen to add some style and humour to healthwear essentials.


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.


"When people see us, they seem to be wondering why we are smiling and laughing," he said.


mask2 Malaysian textile and fashion designer Mohd Hafiz Drahman sketches a mask design.


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."


mask3 Malaysian textile and fashion designer Mohd Hafiz Drahman (R) and his worker paint customised masks using batik.


There are similar ideas around Southeast Asia, like an out-of-work Filipino special effects artist now making horror masks, and a Thai single mother who designs face shields with prints of cartoon and movie characters.


Batik designs are popular in Malaysia, where mask-wearing is not mandatory but is often requested by business establishments.



mask4 A printing shop employee editing customer's photo designs a face mask in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Malaysia has reported nearly 8,600 COVID-19 cases and 121 deaths.


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.




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"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.



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