Monday Jul 4, 2022
Monday Jul 4, 2022

‘Mask’: From necessity to a new fashion statement

Handmade mask market flourishes in Nepal!


Nepalnews
2021 Feb 16, 15:37, Kathmandu
Pride of Nepal, Mask collection by Mishu Shrestha. Photo Courtesy: Mishus Masks

Prior to the pandemic, Nepalis wore masks to protect themselves from the dust and now we, all over the world, wear it to save ourselves from the novel coronavirus.

However, there is a big difference from the life before and after COVID-19.

While wearing a mask before was a choice now it is a necessity.

And with necessity comes adaption!

In the new normal, we have adapted to the fact that we can no longer go out without a face mask!

First there were surgical masks, however now people are more into handmade ones which are more sustainable and come in different textures and designs.

During the lockdown, while some started their own homemade chocolates, some started making masks!

Mishu Shrestha, who runs her own designing line, called ‘Mishus’ for women’s clothing since 2012 has introduced her own line of masks made out of different Nepali fabrics after the pandemic.

She said, “To be honest, I had no plans of making masks. One of my friends from the United Kingdom gave me the idea. She asked, ‘Mishu, why don’t you start making masks?’ I did not know how to make one, but I took the advice and made sample pieces at first. And when I sent it to her, she said okay let's make it. This is good to go.”

 “When I got the green light, I went on and got Nepali fabrics such as dhaka and only after the second lockdown in Nepal, Mishus masks were introduced. We first sold it at Amazon in collaboration with Just Sniffles. I even made designs for different African flags but the collection ‘Pride of Nepal’ designed after Nepal’s flag became a big hit when the CEO of Nabil Bank, Anil Kashary Shah posted a picture wearing it. And now we sell four designs of three-layered masks which are reusable, water resistant and come with two polypropylene filters.”

Pride of Nepal, Mask collection by Mishu Shrestha.
Photo Courtesy: Mishus Masks
Pride of Nepal, Mask collection by Mishu Shrestha. Photo Courtesy: Mishus Masks
Nigerian mask collection by Mishu Shrestha.
Photo Courtesy: Mishus Masks
Nigerian mask collection by Mishu Shrestha. Photo Courtesy: Mishus Masks

Lockdown gave many a lot of time and ideas to run a new business. 

While talking to Sushil Dhungana who owns a brand called ‘Seventy eight street wear’, he said, “We make cotton face masks and tote bags. It mostly focuses on street wear and we have designs that encompass various themes like rock & roll, bandana, zig-zag, to girly.”

 And when asked what inspired you to start your brand, Dhungana said, “I have been working as a graphic designer for 22 years. And during the pandemic, it just hit me. I thought why not start something new. So, that’s how I came up with the idea of making 3 to 5 layered masks.”

Photo Courtesy: Seventy Eight
Photo Courtesy: Seventy Eight
Photo Courtesy: Seventy Eight
Photo Courtesy: Seventy Eight
Flaming Knight by Rehan Shrestha
Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan
Flaming Knight by Rehan Shrestha Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan

 Pandemic was chaotic for each and everyone around the globe but as Winston Churchil once said, “Pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

Rehan Shrestha, who recently started his line of masks called ‘Unmasked by Rehan’, said, “As a fashion person myself, wearing the same kind of mask did not sit well with me. I wanted something that could cover my face but would define me as well.”

“So the whole idea of the masks that I have introduced is to help people express their individuality that allows one to express themselves freely. The masks that I have introduced are limited in pieces, so they are not too common as well. During the pandemic, I saw an opportunity! For a person who wanted to own a clothing label, I thought this was a good place to start. I am not stopping here as I am working on the next collection already. The masks are already three-layered but I am planning to add carbon filters as well,” he mentions.

Shrestha added, Unmasked is also planning to donate to those who were affected by the pandemic after each mask we sell.

Fashion keeps on changing with time!

And since in the ‘New Normal’ mask is a must, we have no choice but to adapt to the situation.

So yes indeed, ‘Mask’ is the new fashion statement.

Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan
Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan
The Hummingbird by Rehan Shrestha
Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan
The Hummingbird by Rehan Shrestha Photo Courtesy: Unmasked by Rehan

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