Thursday 30 April 2020

COVID-19 : How The Ankara Facemask Is BecomingThe New Normal as well as a Goldmine During a Pandemic

Ankara Facemasks are fast becoming the new normal. They are the latest entrants, the new-kids-on-the-block as it were, into the intriguing world of fashion and its accessories, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Ankara facemask complements formal dressing
Lady wearing bright-coloured Ankara Facemask
Credits: Mam Matty Store on 

A lady wearing a bright coloured and patterned Ankara Facemask
Lady Wearing Ankara Facemask
A surgical facemask being held by the straps by a woman trying to wear it
A Surgical facemask being worn by a woman

In a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, announced amongst other measures, that facemasks must be worn at all public functions. The Governor of Lagos State had earlier made it compulsory for residents of the state to put on face masks whenever they appear in public.

With that announcement, facemasks joined the long list of clothing accessories like jewellery, handbags, headgears, make-up and facials that have over the years evolved to become a must-have in every wardrobe, especially the female wardrobe. Only this time, the face mask is no respecter of persons.
What are Facemasks?
Originally created as surgical masks that act as pieces of protective covering, that protect the faces of doctors from germs and infections during surgical procedures, they have since evolved to connote a wide variety of things as defined below by Wikipedia
Facemask may refer to:
·         mask for the face
·  Face mask (gridiron football), a face protector attached to a helmet, or the foul of grasping it during play
·         Facemask (orthodontics)
·         Diving mask
·         Facial mask, used for cosmetic skin treatment
·    Respirator, which aims to protect its wearer from breathing in hazardous substances.
·         Cloth facemask
·         Dust mask

In the context of this post, however, they refer to cloth facemasks and come in a variety of fabrics, designs and colours especially the Ankara facemask, which is taking the African market by storm.  

The Ankara facemask
The Ankara facemask is a cloth mask made from the African Ankara - a cotton fabric usually characterised by bright and colourful patterns or designs.

They are mostly made from 100% cotton quality fabrics like the English Wax, HiTarget, DaViva or Akosombo. Some are also made from polyethene materials.

Unlike the regular surgical facemask, the Ankara facemask is reusable as it can be washed, sun-dried and used again and again. This quality endears it to those who use it. 

Asides preventing the spread of the coronavirus by limiting body fluids from accessing the eyes, nose or mouth thereby causing infection, they are now used to make fashion statements with matching colours, shapes and sizes just like any other fashion accessory. 

Any wonder that not a few fashion designers are smiling to the bank with their innovative and exquisite designs.

Some features of the Ankara facemask include:

1)    They are mostly made from 100% cotton material making them safe and comfortable to use.
2)    The usually contain double layers of fabric which act as air-filters, hence are breathable.
3)     They can be worn by either males or female, hence are unisex.
4)      They are usually UV-treated.
5)      They are washable and re-usable
6)      They come in various designs, either plain or patterned, hence are trendy.

  How to properly put on the face mask
  •    Most facemask consists of two sides. The surgical facemask, for example, consists of a white-coloured side as well as a green or blue-coloured side.
  •    The white-coloured side (which is designed to absorb your own body secretions) is the side to touch your face, while the green (or blue) coloured side (water-repellant and designed to repel the body fluids of others like sweat, saliva, blood) from being absorbed.
  •    The Ankara facemask also has two sides, however, either side can be worn facing in or out. This is as a result of the fitted air filter in-between the two sides.
  •    To wear your facemask, simply pick it up by the straps and place it across your face. Make sure that it completely covers your nose and mouth, all the way to just below your chin. 
  •     As much as possible, minimise handling or touching either side of the facemask.
  •    The facemask should be removed the same way it was put on - by unfastening the straps from the ears. While the surgical mask should be disposed of immediately after use, the Ankara mask can be washed, sun-dried and re-used.

The Ankara Facemask Goldmine

The global economy has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic so much so that a global recession looms. The price of oil in the global is at unprecedented low prices especially for the US crude which is trading at a negative.

Million of people have lost their jobs. Those still fortunate to have jobs are facing stringent pay cuts.

It is in the midst of this crisis that the opportunity of making facemasks for a global population of about seven billion people arises.

In Lagos Nigeria, the government tasked and empowered one thousand persons to produce one million masks for the populace.

A very commendable effort, though the number of masks produced was like a drop in the ocean compared to the over fifteen million people living in Lagos! Notwithstanding the initiative empowered one thousand people and got them engaged.

Acutely aware of the gross inadequacy of the number of cloth masks produced, the government launched the 'Mask Up Lagos' campaign aimed at encouraging individuals and businesses to tap into the Ankara facemask goldmine opportunity.

With an estimated population of fifteen million people, that is fifteen million masks per person per day. Imagine if the citizenry decides to purchase at least two pieces per head, that's a demand for thirty million facemasks for citizens Lagos alone!

Imagine the goldmine when citizens of Lagos start producing Ankara facemasks for export to the rest of Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and the world.....

Disadvantages of the Ankara Facemask
If indeed the Ankara facemask becomes a permanent clothing accessory like the headgear in African democracies, the only disadvantages I foresee might be security breaches as a result of identity theft.

Whilst at the university during the examinations period, some clever students perpetuated malpractices under the covering of the Moslem hijab.

As the Ankara facemasks cover most of the face save the eyes, some disgruntled elements may want to take advantage to perpetrate crimes or impersonate people.

The facemask also would rob the world of the beauty of facial expressions especially the enchanting smiles of some delectable people. Just imagining how selfies taken in public and photoshoots would look like...I hope to write another post on this.

In a modest effort in contributing to curbing the spread of the coronavirus, Lumie Concepts in partnership with Uzezi Coutores offers trendy and affordable facemasks to our esteemed audience.

Kindly peruse some of the facemasks on display below. Kindly contact Uzezi Coutores on +234-708-173-8212 if interested. SMS only.

Lady Wearing a plain purple-patterned facemask

Lady Wearing a plain brown facemask

A set of 6 packs of facemasks

A packaged spotted red facemask 
A beautiful girl wearing a colourful facemask

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