World Health Organization (WHO) encourages the wearing of masks, to help curb the spread of Coronavirus, this has encouraged local fashion businesses to continue operating during the national lockdown in South Africa.
African Fashion International (AFI) has collaborated with local designers in the production of facemasks in order to help fashion designers, their employees and fabrics distributors, maintain employment by receiving payment for the production of needed public facemasks. Additionally, all production resources will be sourced from local suppliers.
According to Roshnee Pillay, AFI marketing manager, “The project commenced in April 2020 and production will continue depending on the demand and support from corporate South Africa and the general public”. NGOs, that urgently require masks, are listed on the campaign page for the public to make a donation to and AFI will manage all deliveries to these NGOs.
The masks are produced under the guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry. To mention a few; they need to be three-ply, with a double polyester fabric on the outside and a mesh backing for moisture absorption, along with a filter and have adjustable ties at the back. The masks are reusable and washable and maintenance directions are provided on the wash care label of the masks with a design that accommodates both adults and children.
“We as the textile industry and the fashion industry would also be contributing and doing something to aid the pandemic. We can provide some of the essential goods required to fight the pandemic which are the masks, For years we’ve pleaded for people to buy locally, and now that the country needs the masks it is an opportunity for us to bring in the change that has been spoken about,” said Papy Kaluw from Urban Zulu.
Bulk purchases of the masks have been made available on the AFI online campaign page. “We encourage corporates to support this initiative and procure these general public masks for their employees, as well as their respective CSI initiatives such as youth care centres, elderly homes, schools, universities, crèches, or shelters,” said AFI in a statement.