Designer Srishti Kaur creates beard-friendly COVID masks

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If many of us find wearing ordinary masks uncomfortable – tugging at the ears, fogging up our glasses, and riding up the nose – imagine the struggles of wearing a mask if you have a beard or a turban.

Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be an issue any longer. After observing that typical masks weren’t necessarily suitable for all individuals, a Melbourne-based designer has taken matters into her own hands.

Srishti Kaur has created beard-friendly masks that can be worn by sardars and other individuals with beards.

“I really thought about functionality, and the way most masks don’t fit people with turbans and beards,” she told Indian Link. “The bottom of these customised masks are almost like a pouch, as it can be tightened with string to fit you properly.”

READ MORE: Melb students create inclusive masks for turbans and hijabs

The idea came together in collaboration with her friend, the owner and founder of Montagio, a men’s suiting company in Sydney. After he provided the materials for the masks, it was up to Srishti to create a beard-friendly design.

“With make-shift cloth bandanas banned in Victoria, I think that these masks were really required by individuals with beards,” she stated.

Not only do the masks provide space for beards and tie behind the head instead of staying behind the ears, but they’re washable and reusable, making them a better alternative to most plastic surgical masks.

Srishti went on to create 100 special masks, and when she was done, donated them to Sikh Volunteers Australia.

“They’ve been super involved with helping the community during the pandemic. I’ve heard great things about them and their efforts since I’ve been in Melbourne, so I got in touch with them about my masks,” she told Indian Link.

Although they were overwhelmed with mask donations due to the generosity of Victorians, Sikh Volunteers Australia were very happy to receive her special masks.

Already, her unique design has received warm feedback on social media from bearded individuals who can now comfortably wear masks outside.

Originally from New Zealand, Srishti has been in the fashion industry for the last 6 years. Her brand, Srishti Kaur Designs, offers customized garment service and made-to-measure wear for women.

When asked about her design style, she describes it as three-fold: aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and functional, and intimate to a client’s personal style and likes.

Did that factor into creating these special masks?

“It’s really about working with clients and understanding their personality and requirements to understand what they’d like,” Srishti said with a smile.

READ MORE: Beard grooming and care while wearing a mask

Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer and editor based in Sydney. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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