Who says face masks have to be boring?

In Africa, fashion designers are injecting style into face masks to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

African designers are turning face masks into a fashion statement.

While masks have become compulsory in many countries to prevent the spread of COVID-19, supply has been a problem.

Designers have stepped in to not only make more protective masks but to also make them more stylish.

“There was a big shortage, we realised, of masks that can be usable every day without having to throw it away,” Inga Gubeka, creative director of Inga Atelier, said. “So that’s what brought about the idea, but at the same time, seeing that masks are going to be an everyday thing, you know, you want to mask in style.”

Fashion designers and brands around the world have switched gears to accommodate the high demand for face masks.

They say the colourful designs also serve as a way to boost morale.

“I have to maintain status quo and remain who I am despite the situation,” Sefiya Diejomaoh, a fashion designer, said. “Another thing is, you have to cheer people, you know people going around in surgical masks is depressing, but when you come out in stylish mask or with an accessory such as this, it does not seem as though we are fighting a war, it seems more fun.”

As protective gear becomes a part of the new normal, designers hope their trendy face masks will complement customers’ wardrobes.

This report was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Seena Khalil.