With some Indian state governments mandating the use of face masks (cotton masks and face covers) to survive the pandemic, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has released guidelines on making masks. Such a move has provided some relief to fashion businesses trying to keep their heads afloat.
While some brands are clubbing the sale of masks with social causes such as sustaining livelihoods due to the jobs lost during the lockdown, others are proportionately donating masks to charities and the front line workers for each mask sold.
Some have already been at the forefront of treating masks as a fashion accessory.
For an affordable luxury line of Masaba, her ‘Maskaba’ is available for sale at INR 250 apiece with a mask being donated to police personnel. Others like India Circus have priced their quirky reusable designs at INR 200 apiece and officiating the masks as a ‘regular phenomenon.’
On the other hand, we have Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who has been in the intense opposition of the practice of encashing on a health crisis by selling masks. I guess we will all be missing on the beautiful Sabya brides and grooms donning beautiful Sabya face masks at their weddings for times to come for come what may, there will never be a dearth of Indian weddings.
Marketing a face mask well makes all the difference.
Face masks should be packaged in a seal of responsible selling wherein a brand does not attempt to make its mask, more than what it is.
Myntra has partnered with Wildcraft to supply masks to customers right at their doorstep – a step some may celebrate in the wake of the national lockdown and increased apprehensions amongst the customer to go out and buy a mask for themselves. Priced at $3 or INR 200 apiece, Wildcraft claims that these offer a three-layered unvalved filtration system. In the FAQ section of its delivery partner website, the brand does clearly state the design capabilities and lab-tested credentials of the mask, all the while stating that no mask can be the go-to answer against the spread of coronavirus.
Now, that is some responsible selling.
WIth masks becoming mandatory, it wouldn’t be long that customers start treating masks just as a pandemic protection tool but rather a fashion accessory. For a customer, fashion serves to be a platform for creative self-expression, and it is only fair that brands give them that medium through selling masks.
However, it should be compulsory for brands to indicate the type of face masks that they are selling. Even a simple indicator on the lines of, ‘ This product is not a medical-grade mask and should be avoided in medical settings. It is not intended to replace medical-grade equipment or other recommended measures to stop the spread of any viruses’ will work and put the decision making power right in the hands of the customer.
We have far more critical issues to worry about than debating the ethics of a fashion company that decides to start producing face masks for their patrons. It is high time for the brands to openly accept masks to be a completely new fashion category in themselves and allow themselves to save their companies in these ‘new modern’ times. Just refrain from treating these face masks as the holy grail of the pandemic, and you’re good to go.
For the customers, know that it is essential to indulge in responsible buying and that it is okay to treat these masks as a nice change of scenery, and for sure, can we all use uplifting fun and quirk.
Pictures: Facebook page/ Website of respective brands (Louis Vuitton, Masaba Gupta, India Circus, Puma, Adidas, Wildcraft)
Masaba Gupta Masks: https://www.houseofmasaba.com/masks
India Circus Masks: https://indiacircus.com/accessories/travel-accessories/face-mask.html
Wildcraft on Myntra: https://www.myntra.com/outdoor-masks/wildcraft/wildcraft-unisex-pack-of-3-black-supermask-w95-reusable-6-layer-outdoor-masks—large/11780702/buy