African fashion designer Sefiya Diejomaoh likes to wear bright, bold clothes to match her personality. She believes a global pandemic should not get in the way of her sense of style.
The mask she wears, which has become compulsory attire as Nigeria tries to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, is the centerpiece of her ensemble. Gold-colored and studded with sparkling diamante jewels, it matches her floor-length dress.
“When you come out in a stylish mask or with an accessory such as this, it doesn’t seem as though we’re fighting a war. It seems more fun,” said Diejomaoh, as she dresses at her home in Lagos to meet a client.
Many African countries have made it compulsory to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of the sometimes fatal COVID-19 respiratory disease.
Fashion lovers in the continent’s biggest cities are combining style and safety by donning colourful masks, sometimes coordinating the fabric with their outfits.
The push to make masks stylish has taken off in other parts of the world. In places like Lebanon, businesses have switched from the production of furniture and clothing to striking masks.
In Africa, the trend is proving a boon to local tailors and designers who are making the masks.
Fashion designer Sophie Zinga, based in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, said she decided to create masks from organic cotton after realizing that some form of protective clothing measures could be needed for the next two years.
“We are going to have to adapt and live with this virus,” she said.
“As a fashion designer I think we are going to have to integrate each outfit with fashion masks,” added Zinga, who created a digital platform, fashionfightscovid19.com, for the masks.
By Angela Ukomadu