COVID-19 SPECIAL

Veteran fashion designers create trendy face masks to launch platform to help fashion industry

Couturier Ann Teoh (right) and her daughter, Christel, wearing her hand-sewn face masks.
Couturier Ann Teoh (right) and her daughter, Christel, wearing her hand-sewn face masks.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANN TEOH

SINGAPORE - Fancy a face mask hand-stitched with applique lace, lined with silk and finished with premium tie strings?

The extravagant mask is designed by none other than local fashion veteran Ann Teoh, and can be purchased from a newly launched website, The Label.

Of course, it will not come cheap. One of 12 limited-edition designs, it retails for $68 under her line, At.titude by Ann Teoh.

But the masks are targeted at "fashion people" and her long-time fans, says the couturier, who is in her 50s. Her custom and bridal couture were the talk of the town in the 2000s.

You can also cop masks from fellow fashion bigwigs Esther Tay and Sylvia Lim. Tay, who is in her early 60s, is regarded as Singapore's doyenne of uniform design, while Lim, 48, is behind fashion label Triologie and The Emporium Group.

Lim's masks ($48) feature quirky designs with a local flavour - like kueh and a print of the Katong neighbourhood. Tay focuses on minimal, clean-cut prints at more affordable prices ($23 to $28).

Consider them options for a mask-wearing new normal, says Teoh who believes masks are like a fashion statement and the most essential item the industry can provide now.

Masks are just the beginning. The power trio came together with big plans to move the fashion industry forward via The Label - a platform conceptualised to help local fashion businesses in the wake of Covid-19.

It began as an idea between Teoh and her friend Staphnie Tang, president of the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), to mix fashion and charity.


Ann Teoh's Aliya by At.titude face mask. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANN TEOH

Teoh roped in Tay and Lim, as well as Ms Doreen Tan, chief executive of the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc).

Tay had been busy with a non-profit project to produce masks for migrant workers and realised she could lend her expertise to create quality masks for all.

"It was also our goal to uplift the fashion industry and save the jobs of many sewers, manufacturers and factory workers - not just in our company, but also other small tailoring production houses that were facing disruption from the pandemic," she says.

The initiative is now powered by TaF.tc, with 10 per cent of proceeds from sales of the masks supporting the BCF.

 
 
 
 

The local fashion industry stands to benefit from the platform - especially in digitising processes, says Ms Tan, who offered to host the e-commerce platform and absorb handling fees.

While The Label currently sells only the three veterans' mask designs, there are plans to bring young designers and local businesses on board.

In the meantime, things are off to a good start, with hundreds of the limited-edition masks sold.

Calling it a "solidarity initiative", Lim says: "This is a precious partnership. One impetus for this project was to spread love during this time, when our industry is facing its worst moment in history.