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The Accidental Mask Maker

By Iris Ma |

Spring. That’s what was on my mind as I flew from New Orleans back to Toronto last Christmas. As rain turned into snow outside of the cabin window, I wished the warm weather could come sooner. I then spent much of the flight imagining the patio dinners, outings with friends, and my favourite lipsticks and silk dresses

Spring did come, but not all the other things I had hoped for. Same as many, my life was completely changed and plans went out of the window. I was planning to open a small online shop to sell silk blouses and dresses. I’ve always loved silk: its biodegradable nature, its comforting touch, its versatility and its beauty. However, it seemed the last thing the world cared about in April was fashion. Everyone was masked up, walking fast, scanning their surroundings in a newly adopted caution.

Then a friend emailed me in late May. Working in the banking industry as an essential worker, she wore a mask all day. “No one from my branch is sick, so we are of course grateful,” she said, “but I’m getting pimples where the mask touches my face. It’s like I’m 16 again!”

That’s how my first silk mask was born. It was double-layered, with pink silk charmeuse and elastics from my last project. My friend was happy when I presented it as a gift. Then, of course, like all the customers who came after, she asked for black.

Aside from its friendliness to the skin, silk charmeuse is also tightly woven, which made it one of the ideal textures. And…to be honest, it’s just pretty.

That’s one thing I learned later.

Even in a pandemic, people still care about being pretty.

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By Iris Ma

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