A vendor sits near a face design masks display at a traditional market, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Picture credit: Reuters)
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 health wear 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.
A vendor sells face design masks at a traditional market to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Picture credit: Reuters)
“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 rupiahs ($3.50), income that has kept Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s business afloat.
A printing shop employee editing customer’s photo designs a face mask, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Picture credit: Reuters)
“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.”
There are similar ideas around Southeast Asia, as 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. Malaysia has reported nearly 8,600 COVID-19 cases and 121 deaths.
Face design masks display at a traditional market, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Picture credit: Reuters)
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.
“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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