By Kristian Silva | ABC NEWS | AUSTRALIA |
Most years, Manmeet Kaur is kept busy by the huge number of weddings in Melbourne’s south Asian community.
Her Dandenong store in Melbourne’s south-east is filled with colourful fabrics and jewellery, but her most popular item in 2020 wasn’t saris or dresses — it was reusable masks.
When Melbourne went into lockdown, Ms Kaur noticed her husband Harpreet struggling with regular ear loop masks because of his turban and long beard. She realised it wasn’t an isolated problem — there was a gaping hole in the mask market for the Sikh community.
“The turban usually sits around your ears, and then you can’t put the mask, which has got ear loops, on,” she said.
Ms Kaur’s simple redesign includes longer elastic straps that can fit around a turban or hijab.
It is also handy for people with hearing aids or those who want to mask up and wear headphones.
She also creates masks with a larger pouch to cater for those with long beards.
Since March, Ms Kaur estimates that she has made about 10,000 masks, about half of which are with modified designs.
She said thousands of the masks had been donated to local council workers, police and people who came into her shop.
There has also been demand from Sydney, Canberra and customers overseas.
“I was working eight to 10 hours a day, and then I was working every day of the week because I was just donating [them] and people were looking forward to it,” she said.
Read the full story, ‘Designers create modified face masks for people with beards, turbans and headscarves’ (ABC News, 12 Jan 2021), here.
Physically challenged Sikh boy designs facemask holder for turbans, tudung (Asia Samachar, 12 June 2020)