As authorities across the world urge people to wear masks to slow the spread of Covid-19, House of Anita Dongre has begun producing 3ply cloth masks. The fashion company has begun production in two of its five rural village centres that were initiated in collaboration with the Maharashtra state government about four years ago.
Through the designer's foundation, these centres have had voluntary participation from about 24 women who will be able to create up to 7,000 masks each week for distribution to NGOs, village residents, individuals, and hospitals.
Designer Anita Dongre, who is chief creative officer of her company, told ET the women in these village centers will be working under strict social distancing and hygiene protocols to produce these masks and distribute them. Made of cotton, these reusable masks will use fabric that was originally purchased for the production of clothes. Masks like these are washable and reusable. At the request of the local hospital in Palgarh, the team will also make special disposable masks for doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
Joined by Dongre are other top designers in the industry like Ritu Kumar and Neeta Lulla who have also made and distributed 3ply masks. Bollywood couturier Lulla who has been known to design for lead actresses like Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai started producing masks three days before the lockdown was announced. Lulla created about 800 masks to distribute to the community around her home and workshop in Mumbai with the help of just two employees.
But since the lockdown began, production was halted. She has been working on getting permissions to restart. Lulla would also like to begin making personal protective equipment.