Designer produces COVID-19 mask

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SOUTH AFRICA-BASED Zimbabwean fashion designer Kuda Matiza has joined the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic by creating re-usable designer masks to be worn as protective gear.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Matiza of House of Hohwa is part of a campaign with the Newtown Junction Mall which is helping to curb the shortage of face masks and gloves in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The fashion designer yesterday said his artistic passion had been the major inspiration to collaborate with Newtown Junction Mall in efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

“I looked at the market and looked at what was not there and then conceptualised House of Hohwa to create the reusable designer cloth face masks under the theme ‘Your Mask, Your Fashion Statement, Your Safety’,” Matiza told NewsDay Life & Style.

“Although the masks might not prevent contraction, I believe they are important as a protective gear as encouraged by health experts.”

Matiza said he used a standard face pattern to construct the mask, which covers the nose and mouth.

“The masks come with striking designs and they are made with a first class quality textiles. We use double layer of 100% cotton fabric and soft elastic that holds from the back of the head to one’s ear,” he said.

“The reusable cloth masks are easy to wash as we recommend wash after each use. They are selling for R100 and are available in different colours.”

Matiza said as a fashion designer, his creations were inspired by the diversity of African cultures.

“The interest to venture into fashion industry was inspired by the need to express and tell many stories that Africa has through constructive garments and that is when I established House of Hohwa that has three collections namely Urban Shroom, Mambokadzi and Winds of Change,” he said.

The self-taught designer said his ability to think outside the box and do things differently enables his designs to appeal to global markets.

His first collection, Urban Shroom, symbolised the emergence of urban ethnic wear in contemporary society while Mambokadzi defined the urban woman “whose values and character are represented in the way she dresses”.

The Winds of Change collection was inspired by the famous speech given by former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Cape Town in 1960 on a Winds of Change tour encouraging change to colonial rule and liberation of Africans.

A music and film graduate, Matiza said although Zimbabwean fashion creatives are yet to make a global impact, there is a lot of authentic talent that is waiting to be unearthed.

“Although we cannot take away from the few designers like Farai Simoyi, who have made strides, we need more of those designers and I believe it goes down to creating an environment that suits young aspiring designers,” he said.

Apart from dressing famous celebrities including Miss Soweto 2015, Pandora Mabai (motivational speaker), former Miss Cape Town and South African actress, Portia Moemedi, Matiza has showcased his designs at the Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Intwasa Fashion Week in Bulawayo, Nelspruit Wine and Cheese Expo and KOAS Fashion Show Cape Town.