Protective Masks: A Semiotic Discourse in Times of Pandemic

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJAR.2014.SE.22.02.Art019

Authors : Kundlata Mishra, Shweta Rangnekar


Face masks have been an essential part of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Protective masks are pieces of kit or equipment worn on the head and face to afford protection to the wearer. They are usually worn for providing a supply of air or filtering the outside air (respirators and dust masks). In the past two years while coping with the pandemic, one of the most significant changes that have been part of our wardrobes is a face mask. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our normal to give rise to a post-pandemic new normal where the focus has shifted to multi-functional clothing that provides a multidimensional experience to the wearer. Safety, functionality, comfort and aesthetics are at the core of this fashion. However, what continues through the pandemic as well is the ability to communicate visually. Thus, making fashion as a major contributor towards the perception and interpretation of identities. With this as the base, the authors studied the semiotic discourse in perceiving a community’s identity in the times of pandemic with respect to performance clothing. The authors conducted an in-depth qualitative analysis of workers using a questionnaire based on a Likert scale and open-ended questions from process industries and Original Equipment Manufacturers (n=50) of Northern and Western India to explore creating mask designs to communicate their work identities. The face masks were designed, which not only help protect against covid-19 and the work hazards but also projected the area and potential hazards of the job profile for better compliance in the workers.


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