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MASKS FOR EASIER BREATHING

In light of the Taal Volcano's recent phreatic eruption, sustainable brand Toqa is doing its part to help others

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By John Legaspi

Last Sunday, the Philippines and the world took notice of Taal Volcano because of its phreatic eruption. Its effects, the most noticeable of which was the shower of fine dark volcanic ash, was felt in many places in Luzon, including the country’s capital.

Filipinos raced to get stocks of face masks, particularly the N95 medical masks. The Department of Health noted that being exposed to volcanic ashes could cause respiratory irritation and many other effects. The apparent panic must have caused a shortage on mask supply.

Providing an alternative solution, sustainable brand Toqa is giving out its pollution masks for free to everyone who needs it.

“Everybody has the right to live safely, though we don’t necessarily have the resources to ensure that. We’re just doing our part to help,” Isabel Sicat and Aiala Valdovino of Toqa share with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “It’s crazy to charge when it’s a matter of safety! We had already designed the masks; experiencing the ash fall in Metro Manila made us realize we could also supply them to those in need.”

Toqa is a project that locates sustainable high fashion in the tropics. The textiles used for its collections originate from rescued deadstock, fabrics which are no longer in production. These will be manipulated to reflect the character of the island.

“While the N95 medical-grade face mask is the best protection, supplies are running out rapidly. We made new Toqa pollution masks for anyone in Metro Manila who needs it,” Toqa wrote in an Instagram post. “They’re def[initely] not as efficient as N95, but they’re better than nothing.”

The masks are inspired by the two’s day-to-day experience with Makati City’s pollution. “Toqa prioritizes design for tropical needs, something to protect oneself against the constant smog and exhaust,” they say. “’Sport Resort’ is about merging functionality, accessibility, and aesthetic. You can be health conscious and look cute too!”

Keeping in mind its sustainability thrust, the masks are made of several layers of fabric, a non-stretch denim woven on the outside, soft terrycloth on the side that touches the nose and mouth, and stretchy garter for the ear loops. As with everything Toqa makes, all materials are  sustainably sourced and thoroughly washed.

The pollution mask is available for free until supplies last at Khao Kai PH.

studio@toqa.tv | Instagram: @toqa.tv | Khao Kai PH address: 5772 Ebro St., Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City

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