Protecting yourself with style: Seven Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs who came together to make masks against the coronavirus

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Note from BW of Brazil: It’s getting real in Brazil, particularly São Paulo. Or maybe it’s been real for a while. São Paulo leads all Brazilian cities with the number of persons infected with the coronavirus as well as the most coronavirus deaths. That is, of course, if we are to take the numbers at face value. I have been skeptical about what should be labeled as a Covid-19 death since I discovered how health agencies around the world are counting these fatalities.

Whatever the case may be, taking the official numbers into consideration, the state of São Paulo has reported 44,411 cases of Covid-19 and 3,608 deaths as of today, May 9, 2020. The country as a whole is now up to 155,939 cases and 10,627 deaths. If we consider the numbers per 100,000 citizens, the state of the Amazonas is being hit particularly hard with 8 of the top 10 cities reporting Covid-19 deaths. Those cities are reporting 25-43.1 deaths per 100,000 citizens. 

As the country continues to promote measures to curb the spread of the virus, the state of São Paulo has made it mandatory that all citizens wear masks if they must enter the streets or risk receiving a fine from BRL$276 to BRL$276,000! This includes individual and companies that are found to be in violation of the policy. 

Just so we can understand what both sides are saying, some doctors who are specialists in viruses and respitory infections tell jus that the wearing of masks is not actually necessary. Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi are two such physicians. In discussing the whole pandemic, the doctors have discussed precautions and what is being advocated during this crisis. According to Dr. Erickson:

“We wear masks in an acute setting to protect us. We’re not wearing masks. Why is that? Because we understand microbiology; we understand immunology; and we want strong immune systems. I don’t want to hide in my home, develop a weak immune system, and then come out and get disease.”

To further explain his position, Erickson continued:

“If you’re healthy and you don’t have significant comorbidities and you know you’re not immunodeficient and you’re not elderly you should be able to go out without any gloves and without a mask. If you are those things you should either shelter in place or wear a mask and gloves. I don’t think everybody needs to wear the masks and gloves because it reduces your bacterial flora… and your bacterial flora and your viruses your friends that protect you from other diseases [if they] end up going away and now you’re more likely to get opportunistic infections infections that are hoping you don’t have your good bugs fighting for you.”

Even though the use of masks are being recommended and even mandated in various places around the world, the jury is still out on the actual effectiveness of protecting one from viruses. In general, the evidence we have at this point tells us that there could be a slightly beneficial to wearing some sort of face mask, while it does seem to be true that they do seem to prevent infected persons from speading viruses. But even in that case, the evidence is still weak and not consistent. Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia in the UK had this to say: “Our view is that there was some evidence of a degree of protection, but it wasn’t great So we still don’t effectively know if face masks in the community work.”

For some doctors, the mandation of wearing masks is actually the exact opposite of what citizens should be doing. However you see it and whoever you believe, if you’re in São Paulo, make sure if you need to be out, mask up or risk a hefty fine. Don’t like the idea of wearing those plain, old masks out in the street? Might you be encouraged to wear one if it was perhaps a little more stylish, came in vibrant colors and patterns? Well, there are a number of Afro-Brazilian designers who have you mind. Below are seven of them who added some pretty cool looking masks to their catalog. While we’re on the topic of masks, check them out. 

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Protecting yourself with style: Seven Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs who came together to make masks against the coronavirus

By Kauê Vieira

The use of masks is a reality in most cities in Brazil. In São Paulo, for example, in addition to public transport and by application, people should use the item whenever they are walking through the streets of the metropolis. The governor, João Doria (PSDB), said that the inspection is the responsibility of the city halls and whoever fails to comply with the new measures will be fined. São Paulo, it is worth remembering, has more than 2 thousand deaths and at least 31,700 positive cases of the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that all countries adopt the use of the mask as another protective measure. Attention, going out in a mask won’t stop you from getting the new coronavirus. First, it is important to stay at home as long as possible, in addition, the object should be used for up to 3 hours as long as you, of course, do not touch the mask by hand. At home, it is important to always wash them in a bleach solution.

Racial slant

The fact is that the mask has become a vital accessory for all navigating in these strange and uncertain times. While a vaccine for covid-19 is still a distant dream, walking with your face covered will be the new normal. Dystopian, but normal. And, since specialists and doctors ask people not to buy N95 models, reserved for health professionals, the handmade production of masks has gained prominence.

Hypeness is listing brands, mostly owned by black men and women, who are selling masks for you to take care of and help others in such a difficult time for society. After all, economics and life cannot be disputed.

The preference for disclosing the work of Afro-Brazilians is due to the finding that this is the group most affected by the covid-19. The Ministry of Health reported that pretos e pardos (blacks and browns) account for 1 in 4 Brazilians who need medical care for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (23.1%). The same group represents 32.8% of deaths – 1 in 3 deaths from coronavirus is of a black person. In other words, this is a group of people who need to balance between the delay in receiving emergency aid from the federal government and the urgency of paying the bills.

1. Ethnic fabrics by Thalita Troise

If you live in São Paulo, you can do business with Thalita. She sells masks with cotton fabrics inspired by the culture of African countries. According to her, the products have three layers of protection and can be reused.

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Masks sold for BRL $10 a unit

Each mask costs BRL $ 10. There is also the option for the BRL $ 15 model, which has a protection so that the elastic does not hurt the ears. Thalita delivers by mail or by motorboy. Delivery is at the customer’s expense and from BRL $10, delivery is free.

2. Packet of 10

Erica Mbengue came up with a promotion that will please those who don’t like to repeat colors and models. For BRL 60, you take home a package with 10 units – one black and one white, plus eight models inspired by Afro-Brazilian culture for you to combine with a turban or a shirt.

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Combining protection and style

Erica says in the ad that part of the sales proceeds will go to help people at risk. From BRL $ 100 on purchases, freight to São Paulo will cost BRL $ 10.

3. Brecho Bem te Quer

Still in São Paulo, Bem te Quer has black entrepreneurship in its vein. The masks follow the trend of bright colors and are produced with exact measures to ensure effectiveness. Deliveries take place all over Brazil by mail.

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4. Lassana Moda

Pernambuco is one of the states with the highest number of coronavirus cases in Brazil. Protection, therefore, is more indispensable than ever. Lassana Moda masks are made by an immigrant from Senegal and can be used for up to a maximum of 2 hours. The models use 100% African cotton fabric in yellow, pink, red, green, blue, white and black. Each model costs BRL $ 7. Detail, the masks are double-sided.

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5. Atelier Araka

A curious phenomenon that you may have noticed is that many people who used to make clothes are now producing masks. In Rio Grande do Norte, Ateliê Araka, specialized in the production of clothes used in black religions in Brazil, opened the making of masks. Models with double layer and 100% cotton fabric cost BRL $ 10.

You can learn about other types of masks, in addition to the kit values in the brand’s inbox. What you can’t do is go out on the streets without protection.

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6. Overboetcetal

The brand inspired by street wear in Rio de Janeiro launched a promotion. ‘Vida pela Vida’ works like this: when buying an ANKH t-shirt with the key to life, the customer receives a gift mask. The piece is sold for BRL $ 59.90.

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7. Kandakids

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The Santa Catarina brand specialized in African fabrics has special models for children. The models are inspired by symbols of African culture, such as the baobab tree. Each is sold for BRL $ 5.

Source: Hypeness

About Marques Travae 3382 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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