A self-described “military brat,” clothing designer, Sonia Smith-Kang, born in Puerto Rico, came to Los Angeles from Hawaii. Early on she found herself surrounded by culture.
“My father is African American, my mom Mexican and my husband is Korean,” she explained.
She created Mixed Up Clothing to give her children everyday designs that would celebrate their cultural heritage.
“We live a very intentional life, bringing in culture and diversity into our home and as an extension our clothing line represents that,” Smith-Kang said.
Face masks are no exception. She found some leftover fabrics and went to work. When it came to designing them, she studied how surgical masks were made to achieve her prototype.
“I took apart one of the surgical masks that we had here at the house,” the former registered nurse said. “I also followed the CDC’s guidelines, so we make sure that we have 100 percent cotton, it's double-ply and tightly woven, on the back side when we put a little pouch for an optional filter, elastic for the ear loops and then nose wire.”
The masks can be found in bright, vibrant colors that Smith-Kang says are chosen to celebrate cultural diversity and inclusion.
“We source our fabric from all over the world and, to tell a story, it’s to talk about identity and culture and all the rich beautiful heritage that we have. I use that in everything that I make and masks are no exception,” she said. “I feel that it could be fashionable, if we're having to wear masks more often, why not be an extension of who you are.”
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