With no sign that the global threat of coronaviruses is subsiding anytime soon, face masks are quickly becoming fashion accessories for Indonesians and Malaysians keen to add style and humor to the essentials of health .
Custom masks are making their way into Indonesia, with customers ordering models with their own faces printed on reusable neoprene, some with smiling faces or big red lips, like the one made for Heni Kusmijati, 46.
“When people see us, they seem to wonder why we smile and laugh,” he said.
A Jakarta print shop added masks to its services after sales plummeted due to the coronavirus, which infected more than 50,000 Indonesians and killed 2,620 people.
Customers place orders online and upload their photos. It takes 30 minutes to make the masks and each costs 50,000 rupees ($ 3.50), an income that kept Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s business afloat.
“At first we were skeptical,” he said of the mask making. “But later, the demand jumped, and that helps us to recover the business loss.”
There are similar ideas in Southeast Asia, like an unemployed Filipino special effects artist who now makes horror masks and a single Thai mother who designs face screens with prints of cartoon characters and movies. .
Batik models are popular in Malaysia, where wearing a mask is not mandatory but is often requested by commercial establishments. Malaysia has reported nearly 8,600 cases of COVID-19 and 121 deaths.
Malaysian textile designer Hafiz Drahman has soft cotton masks that include optional pockets for adding filters, made from his stocks of fabrics decorated with wax and dye, an ancient tradition.
“I started to see a new opportunity in making batik face masks because at that time we were asked to wear face masks for our personal safety,” said Hafiz in his workshop. city of Shah Alam.