Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The oldest surgical dressings factory in Taiwan is holding an international mask design competition to bring health and style to everyday health products and inspire people amid the gloom caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We see face masks becoming an increasingly indispensable part of our lives, and we think it is a good opportunity to introduce aesthetics to the health industry,” said Evelyn Chen (陳怡玲), PR manager at mask manufacturer CSD.

Dubbed “There’s Strength in Memory,” the competition asked participants to bring their unique memory of a beautiful scene to face masks as a form of inspiration, according to Chen.

The joint project between CSD and memory manufacturer Kingston attracted more than 3,100 entries from 12 countries in Asia Pacific, Chen said, and the competition has moved to its final phase.

People can now vote online for their favorite masks from six finalists in two categories — masks of three colors and masks of unlimited colors — to choose the two winners, who will be disclosed on Feb. 9.

Each winner will be awarded US$5,000 and 50 of the masks carrying their design, Chen said.

Among the finalists is “Monster Nation” by Yman.S from Malaysia, who turned monsters that were once his childhood nightmare into adorable creatures.

Yman.S said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-life monster to him, and he wanted to encourage people and spread the spirit of positivity and a never-say-die attitude to everyone.

There was also Tsuyoshi Artman from Japan, who depicted flowers and plants in his work “Breath of Energy.”

Choosing psychedelic colors for his distinctive pop art-styled illustrations of plants and greenery to express vitality, he said he hoped his design could help people feel mentally stronger and embrace the energy of life when breathing through these masks.

CSD, which started a product line of fashion medical face masks in 2015, currently manufactures 4.4 million masks per week. “We are hoping to explore more diverse markets for our masks,” said Chen, adding that CSD has also launched customized products to Japan-based chain store Loft, and partnered with Italian luxury brand Bvlgari to offer special-edition masks.

CSD will consider producing limited editions of some of the better masks in the competition and use them for charity causes or in other special occasions, she said.

There are other mask manufacturers in Taiwan eyeing the business potential of colorful masks, including Medtecs and KNH.

To vote, go to https://www.kingstonxcsd.com/finalists.php

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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