AT THE onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a shortage of disposable face masks readily available for medical frontliners.
Faced with this challenge, Davao-based fashion designer Maizy Colleen and NiñOFRANCO creative director Wilson Limon crafted fabric masks and donated them to essential workers through the project #AGenerousDavao.
After supporting the laudable project, both decided to continue creating these must-wear accessories with their signature styles. With large gatherings restricted, the fashion industry was badly hit. No more big weddings, proms, graduation balls, birthday bashes and other social events meant custom-made clothes and gowns were not in-demand.
Masks with flair
“To be able to sustain my business and keep my staff, I had to find other means of earning. The fabric masks provided constant projects for the tailors and beaders,” says Maizy.
For Maizy’s exquisite mask collection, she utilized fabric bought in Jaipur and Seoul as well as printed cotton and silk from India and Korea saved from her trips a few years back. The vibrant prints and florals in assorted shades and printing techniques made her eco-friendly fabric masks a hit with fashionistas.
“All masks have pockets where you can insert a filter for added protection which is good for daily use. However, if you are going to the hospital or extremely crowded places, disposable medical-grade face masks are still recommended,” she stresses.
Collaborating with communities
On the other hand, Niño, whose clothing line incorporates traditional craftsmanship into contemporary pieces, sources materials from local communities in Mindanao as well as Manila-based commercial suppliers for his fabric masks.
“As NIñOFRANCO treads carefully to the new norm, we want to give hope to our partner communities by continuing to preserve and sustain their livelihood through collaborations,” he narrates.
A few months ago, NiñOFRANCO and Maizy Colleen, who are good friends and schoolmates from fashion school, teamed up for their own worthwhile project #MaskofHope.
“A percentage of every cloth mask we sold was set aside to aid children from the One Heart Davao Community, and for exemplary students recommended by DSWD. We provided them with tablets that they could use for their online learning. The masks also created continuous income for tailors and artisans,” Niño happily shares.
“We thank those who supported our cause, allowing us to extend our help to people whose livelihood and studies have been affected by the pandemic,” Wilson gratefully expresses.
Davao-made medical-grade face masks
Like these two youthful and dynamic designers, OrthOne is a company founded by a group of young entrepreneurs who believes in the responsible use of masks to control the spread of the pandemic.
“Back in April, we bought a lot of imported masks and found that they were of very poor quality,” OrthOne manager Ace Manaloto relates. With the Covid-19 cases rising at that time, the company decided to venture into medical face mask manufacturing.
“We had to source for the best machines and raw materials abroad in order to manufacture good quality masks,” Ace explains.
Mask but not the least
OrthOne masks are medical grade with the filtration of the middle layer at 99 percent. According to Ace, most masks being sold in the market only have 20 to 40 percent filtration rates. He says that the 3-ply medical-grade face mask is most recommended as the safest next to N95. It is more affordable as well.
“OrthOne is proudly Davao-made and approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA). So far, people are already starting to buy our mask because it has a better quality over the others,” Ace shares.
And, mask but not the least, “Let us always remember that every time we wear a mask and practice health measures such as social distancing, regular washing of hands, among others. We are one step closer to achieving our dream of becoming pandemic-free,” Ace enthuses.
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