London-based designer Saran Kohli is creating Vitiligo masks that are as unique as the skin you are in
Facemasks may not be your accessory of choice. But, given that they have, of late, been taking up quite a bit of real estate on your face, it is only natural that you would look for ones that are aesthetically pleasing. Closer home, designers like Masaba Gupta, Anita Dongre and Shivan & Narresh are experimenting by incorporating their own signature styles onto masks. While globally, a quick scroll through Instagram throws up hundreds of images of scrunchie-like ties, chunky acetate chains, and beaded designs accessorising this otherwise mundane essential item.
However, London-based Saran Kohli’s decision to unveil a range of masks had little to do with what was in vogue, or what we in millennial speak call ‘#trending.’ For the 34-year-old menswear designer, creating personalised masks presented him with the unique opportunity to tell his story of living with vitiligo. Inspired, in part, by the Black Lives Matter movement that saw participants sporting printed BLM T-shirts and masks, the designer recently launched a limited-edition collection of Vitiligo masks from his eponymous label. “The clothes we choose to wear say a lot about our individual personalities. Fashion achieves a unique visual impact that is a lot more non-violent and progressive than what words can ever hope to accomplish,” explains the designer and stylist, who is of Indian origin.
A digitally printed design — that looks like vitiligo — on premium cotton fabric, these exclusive facemasks were created in collaboration with London-based illustrator Mira Abad. To help best represent this skin condition, the reusable masks also come in a range of shades. This allows the user to pick one that is as unique as their skin tone. “It is a great time to open up the avenues of fashion to the debate surrounding skin and a person’s skin colour. We, as a generation, have been able to vocally express things that the previous generation has not been able to do,” shares Saran.
Currently working with The Vitiligo Society, the London College of Fashion graduate is donating £2 (approx Rs 200) from every mask purchase to the non-profit as part of his advocacy and awareness campaign. Overwhelmed by the global response that his masks have created, Saran, who has dressed celebs like Jay Sean and Ashley Walters, plans to expand the Vitiligo series into a larger product line, perhaps, even clothing.
Approximately Rs 1,500 onwards. Available online.