COVID-19: Neem-infused and silver grid masks to enter the market

With COVID-19 set to be around for some more time, masks could become part of the wellness range of products, as well as the fashion industry, said entrepreneurs and a brand consultant.

In the hosiery town of Tiruppur, several textile units have started making masks to cater to the increasing demand as well as looking at the future export potential for global brands.

“I see it become a part of lifestyle,” Uma Prajapati, 50, an entrepreneur-cum-social activist, who built garment company Upasana Design Studio in Auroville in Tamil Nadu told IANS.

Upasana has launched reusable healing masks made of organic cotton fabric as a part of its Therapeutic Clothing line. Prajapati said Upasana has launched neem-infused masks and silver grid masks.

“Neem is well known for its detoxifying, anti-allergenic and calming properties. While neem’s natural dye gives the mask’s organic hand-woven cotton its characteristic yellow colour, it also carries this amazing plant’s ayurvedic properties right into the mask’s fabric,” Prajapati said.

She said since ancient times, silver has been used as an anti-pathogenic, cleansing and energising agent.

According to her, the mask made with a special textile woven with a grid of silver thread creates an energetic protection field around the wearer’s head. Through its air-ionizing action, the grid also reinforces the immune system by eliminating the positive charge of harmful free radicals in the air we breathe.

A fashion statement

On the other hand, Ami Sata, founder, Amouve Bedding Private Ltd, looks at the masks made of organic cotton fabric becoming a fashion accessory.

Amouve Bedding is into organic bath towels and bedding products (pillow covers, bed sheets and others) and has donated through city-based Agni Foundation 3,000 three-layered face masks made of organic cotton.

“We have the fabric and there was demand. The good thing about these masks is that unlike any non-woven or poly ones, they are free of any toxins and safe to breathe in. They are reusable,” Sata said.

The company has also provided care packages to several daily wage workers who are struggling during the lockdown period.

Sata said the demand for masks will be there even after the lockdown is lifted and when people start going to office and other places. Sata said in the coming days malls may not attract footfalls as before and online sales will increase.

According to her, the company will soon launch lower priced products under a sub-brand — Fu Casa — and also get into baby bedding products.

Concurring with the view that masks would become a fashion accessory, brand expert Harish Bijoor told IANS: “In the beginning, the demand for masks will be by force/compulsion. Going forward, while the focus on protection will continue to be there, masks will turn fashionable.” He said it will be the trend globally.

“Many textile units in Tiruppur have started making masks targeting different segments in the domestic market. They are also looking at export markets,” Bijoor said

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