Cloth Face Masks
ImprintZA (Instagram)
  • Cloth face masks are now mandatory in South Africa, but just because they're safety equipment doesn't mean they can't look good.
  • High-end South African brands and designers have now turned to cloth face masks.
  • Given what you normally pay for their wares, the designers have priced their masks very affordably.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Face masks are now mandatory for South Africans in public places, or who want to enter businesses, or use public transport.

But health minister Zweli Mkhize has urged South Africans not to use medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks and respirators, reserving those hard-to-find items for medical use. So with fabric masks needed by millions of people, many businesses have seized the opportunity by switching to making cloth face masks.

That includes some some of South Africa's best-known high-end designers.

And while these designers can charge a premium for their usual goods, they've priced their masks to be very affordable. 

The National Treasury, with the input from local academics, the World Health Organisation, and others, have since published guidelines of how these mask should ideally be constructed.

The manufacturer guidelines inadvertently act as a buying guide of sorts for South Africans now looking for masks.

It is important to remember that the fabric masks are not intended to prevent wearers from catching the novel coronavirus. Instead it is hoped pervasive use will stop asymptomatic carriers from inadvertently spreading the virus.

Here's what to look out for when buying a mask.
  • Your mask can be two or three layers.
  • There must be a wire insert over the nose-bridge area to make for a closer fit.
  • A removable filter in the middle.
  • Must have an easily identifiable inside and outside.
  • Preferably a synthetic-fibre layer on the inside.
  • Ties that don't need you to touch the mask itself.
  • The masks must come in different sizes with a manual explaining how they should be worn.
  • Manufacturers must test the masks out themselves if trying out a new prototype to ensure for comfortabilty.

These are some of the South African designers who will now sell you a fabric face mask.

Tshepo Jeanmaker

Founded by Tshepo Mohlala, Tshepo Jeanmaker is known for making bespoke jeans and clothing made from denim.

Mohlala caused a Twitter storm in 2018 after announcing that customers can expect to pay over R900 for a custom fit.

Mohlala has now introduced custom denim face masks.

Mohlala's masks retail for R150 for two. With each purchase, two masks will be donated, in partnership with Goodbye Malaria.

The masks can be ordered via email on info@tshepojeans.co or via WhatsApp on 078 337 7381


Inga Atelier

Inga Gubeka's leather bags are so popular, even president Cyril Ramaphosa has one.

While a single Inga Atelier bag can set you back over R3,000, Gubeka's custom masks cost R199 for two and includes delivery.

Gubeka studied interior design at the Durban University of Technology and founded his first company, Indalo Décor, in 2012. He later resigned and started Inga Atelier to focus on nothing but luxury leather accessories.

Orders can be made via email on bespoke@ingaatelier.com or call 0789026434 for more information.


Imprint

The high-end brand, owned by Mzukisi Mbane, has been worn by the Nigerian-American singer Jidenna, South African musicians such as Simphiwe Dana, and the band Micasa in their latest music video.

Cloth Face Masks
ImprintZA (Instagram)

Mbane designs that have featured on South Africa Fashion Week runways retail for between R800 and R4,000 a piece. His masks, on the other hand, retail for R160 for two.

Part of the masks' price go to towards feeding the hungry.

The masks can be ordered via Whatsapp on 084 802 0682


Loin Cloth & Ashes

The brand was founded by Tanzanian-born, South-African-raised designer Anissa Mpungwe. 

Cloth Face Masks
www.loinclothandashes.com

The awarded-winning brand's clothing retail between R300 and over R4,000 a piece. Their custom masks, however, retail for R39 and can be ordered from the website.


Isaiah Apparel

Cloth face masks
www.isaiahapparel.com

Isaiah Apparel's masks are called "Dust Masks".

The brand caters for the young and funky with pieces of clothing retailing for up to R800. The masks retail for R100 and can be ordered on the website.


Black Coffee

Black Coffee's cloth face masks retail between R80 and R190.

Cloth Face Masks
@BlackCoffeefashoinZA

A portion of the masks' sale will be going MES 's Covid-19 Fundraiser. The masks can be ordered online.


Marianne Fassler

Award-winning designer Marianne Fassler's masks are made from her team's homes, to Leopard Frock standards, she says on her Instagram.

Fabric cloth face masks
@mariannefasslerofficial (Instagram)

All masks are three-layered with a breathable layer in-between. The masks retail from R80 and can be ordered by contacting Aldene on 084 654 3227

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