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Fashion face masks for sale at a small shop in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Photo by Shelley Anderson.Fashion face masks for sale at a small shop in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Photo by Shelley Anderson.Face masks are everywhere. At the beginning of the pandemic the news was full of how sewers and quilters around the world had rallied to produce face masks for medical staff, care givers and others.

Newspapers, including the prestigious New York Times, printed sewing instructions on how to make a face mask from a T-shirt, or from tea towels and shoe laces. Instagram posted photographs of brides wearing lovely satin and lace face masks. Fashion designers, including big names like Dior, were making chic face masks with bows and rhinestones, in a variety of colours to match with different outfits.

In some countries whether to wear a face mask or not has become highly politicized. While Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova has been lauded for her matching face mask and gloves, in the USA some grocery shops refused service to people not wearing masks—while a minority of others refused service to those that did. In Brazil President Bolsonaro was criticized for initially refusing to wear a face mask. He now wears one with his name and photograph printed on it, as do some of his supporters.


Fashion face masks for sale at a small shop in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Photo by Shelley Anderson.Fashion face masks for sale at a small shop in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Photo by Shelley Anderson.Some local charities have begun producing face masks as income-generating projects. In Kenya’s Wamba region, the conservation group Grevy’s Zebra Trust involves local women and girls to monitor zebra populations. The Trust had started an income-generating project whereby local women and girls produced sanitary pads for schools. They now produce about 700 zebra patterned face masks a week, using sanitary pads as a filter, which are distributed free to market sellers, taxi drivers and villagers.

In northeastern India, the Weaker Section Development Council trained local people to weave and sew shawls, sarongs and table runners to sell. They’ve switched to producing and selling hand loomed, turmeric dyed, face masks. In Bangladesh, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station employs some seventy local tailors to produce face masks, which are distributed free to Rohingya refugee camps, nurses, and fire fighters.

It comes as no surprise then that the TRC has started a corona collection (see another blog dated 29th May). So far we have a few commercial and domestically made face masks, T-shirts with relevant slogans, and an embroidery. If you have ideas of other objects to collect or would like to make a donation, please contact Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

Saturday, 30th May, by Shelley Anderson

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The TRC is afhankelijk van project-financiering en privé-donaties. Al ons werk wordt verricht door vrijwilligers. Ter ondersteuning van de vele activiteiten van het TRC vragen wij U daarom om financiële steun:

Giften kunt U overmaken op bankrekeningnummer NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, t.n.v. Stichting Textile Research Centre.

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