Blog – Wandisile’s Plett: Fashion-forward masks

A blog by Wandisile Afrika Sebezo

How fashion designers are making stylish masks to stay afloat

It is estimated that 98% of all businesses registered in the country are SMMEs, and they’re the ones that stand to be hard hit by the impact of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19.

While government has made a number of relief programs to assist SMMEs not go under, those in the fashion space (including seamstresses and those in the textile industry) have resorted to making face masks to make ends meet.

You are now required by law in South Africa to always wear your face mask whenever you go into public spaces, failure in which will result in arrest or a fine. With government not supplying these face masks, local fashion designers did what most entrepreneurs do – seize the opportunity.

One such is Plett’s very own Nada Jujwana of Nada J Creations. Plett Tourism has covered Nada’s work on some of our publications in the past, and she has featured greatly in one of the events that Plett Tourism helped initiate, namely the Plett 24 Hour Reunion Fashion Show by Fri-Creatives.

I have seen these masks everywhere; people are not going for the ordinary, but rather stylish and ones that match their outfit. You even have celebrities donning these stylish masks and influencing their followers follow suit.

A spirit of entrepreneurship seems to have taken flight to even those who can barely knit, let alone use a sewing machine as I have come across bizarre designs on social media, I suspect from chancers or first attempters. Everyone wants to cash in.

Nothing goes without controversy in South Africa, though, as moralists (including this lowly writer) have questioned why people want to make profit in a time of a crisis, especially considering that these face masks have been declared a necessary accessory in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Whatever your view on the matter, I have come to one conclusion: that people need to put bread on their tables, and for this group of entrepreneurs who have been greatly affected by COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, this is how they survive.


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