Contour Fashion student transfers skills to make reusable cotton masks in India


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An Indian fashion student is using skills learned on her De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) course to make protective face masks for people in her home country.

After having to abandon her fourth-year placement in London due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Disha Lulla chose to go back home to Indore, India to be with her family.

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Disha's face masks

Now the 21-year-old Contour Fashion student is using her the techniques she learned in DMU classrooms to make reusable cotton face masks and donating them to those in her country who need them.

To date Disha has made and donated more than 100 masks.

While experts in the UK are divided on the benefits of facemasks, the Indian government has made wearing the coverings mandatory in many major cities and states.  

Disha said: “The government has issued several advisories about wearing masks. Some states making it a punishable offence if masks are not worn in public.

“The Indian government is urging the public to use cotton masks or to make their own masks with bandanas, and more.”

See how DMU is responding to the COVID-19 crisis

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The situation prompted Disha to put her skills to good use.

She said: “I started making reusable cotton masks a few weeks ago, my main inspiration came from seeing a delivery person using a handkerchief as a mask and seeing single use masks dumped in the streets.

“I thought to myself, you know I can make these for people because I do have the skills through everything I have learnt at university.”

“I took a pattern online and started to make the masks. I have donated over 100 so far to foundations, NGOs and the public. I am already in the process of making more and will continue to do so,” she added.

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Disha's face masks as part of a finished package

The masks made by Disha are not medical grade, however as there is such a short supply the Indian government has advised that these can be used. 

“My masks are double-lined and have cotton-tie backs,” Disha said. “The inner and outer fabrics are different, so it makes it easier to differentiate between which side touches the mouth and which is outside.

“I have also made the masks in two sizes – small/medium and large. They are reusable and I recommend washing them by hand in water, soap and Dettol,” she added.

“I will continue to make them for as long they are needed. A lot of people don’t have the means to buy them and they are in really short supply, the proper ones are disposable, creating a lot of waste”

Disha has her own website demonstrating her work. Follow her on Instagram @dishalulladesigns.

Posted on Tuesday 5th May 2020

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