Ordinary Filipinos take initiative to make in demand masks

 Dennis Sayat

By Bernadette Basagre

Cover Photo: Kathryn Matencio

Video: Courtesy of Kugihanz PH

AUCKLAND – With masks becoming a necessity in today’s day and age, Filipinos are joining in and creating masks for the community.

Two ordinary Filipinos, Dennis Sayat and Kathryn Matencio, are creatively joining in and making masks for the community.

“At the start I created the masks for my personal use only, but when I posted them on social media I got so many requests that I thought that there might be a demand for them, so I started making different designs for other people,” says Dennis Sayat, creator of Sayat Masks.

Other than making masks for Sayat Masks, Sayat is a bridal machinist in Parnell which explains his experience with sewing in design.

Sayat began his venture in making masks first and foremost for his protection, “but being a designer I also wanted the masks to look good,” he says.

“I know that we are in a pandemic but people don’t want to go around looking like hospital patients!”

On the other hand, Kathryn Matencio is pursuing a career in becoming a vet, but sews as a hobby, learning from trial and error, Youtube videos and reading sewing books.

She originally made masks for her family in her free time and later decided to make more for sustainability.

“I understand how much more sustainable and eco-friendlier the reusable fabric masks are … I wanted to contribute to a less wasteful option,” she says.

The use of masks has become common in New Zealand, with it being mandatory when using public transport.

New Zealand is currently at Level 2, meaning that public gatherings are restricted to 10 people for Auckland (50 for funerals/tangihanga) and 100 people for the rest of the country and that social distancing must be maintained.

Due to demand, both Sayat Masks and Matencio’s small mask business have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from their followers.

“I did not expect so many orders coming in, so I can say that in its own way, as small as it is, it is still a success,” Matencio says.

“The response is overwhelmingly positive. I have received so many orders and made numerous deliveries in just the first week after I posted on social media,” says Sayat.

Currently Matencio is selling her masks for $5 in plain black calico fabric and $10 for printed fabric masks.

For Sayat, he is selling 5 styles of masks at $20 each and they can be ordered from his Facebook page (Sayat) or Instagram (@d_sayat).

“Honestly, I think the demand will last for only as long as the pandemic is a threat … in the meantime I am here to use my talent and skill through these masks, to help motivate people to stay safe by helping make masks that are fun and fashionable,” Sayat says.