First worn by on-screen starlet Arwa Gouda, the Yashmask - a cross between a face mask and a traditional yashmak - was made by her sister, Lamia Gouda, who launched her business to sell these aesthetic, Oriental-inspired pieces.
Lamia Gouda, a freelance translator who works with the likes of the United Nations, had little to do with the world of design. The whole project was born out of what you call ‘big sister instincts’. When her sister, on-screen starlet Arwa Gouda, was going to the glamorous El Gouna Film Festival, Lamia understood that she had to protect her from more than just the paparazzi. “I knew she would have to take her mask off on the red carpet so she could look good, but I didn’t want her or anyone else to get sick," Lamia Gouda tells #CairoScene. "I picked out some fabric and went to the tailor I’ve been using for over 15 years and asked him to make her some masks. She ended up agreeing to wear them and loved them.”
Made from cotton, Gouda's Yashmasks are three-layered and feature a slit for a propylene filter, according to guidelines set by WHO. Arwa ended up wearing two of her sister’s masks at the film festival, giving her business a very strong start. In fact, it may have been TOO strong. “Since we’ve started the project, there have been multiple people who have copied our idea. It’s painful to see an idea I put so much passion into taken away from me,” Gouda says. “I’m not a vulture, I don’t want to exploit something like this for profit. The aim is to actually protect people when they’re out at parties or nighttime events.”
But the end of the pandemic won’t see the end of her newly-launched brand. With plans to redevelop the brand after the ongoing crisis, Gouda sees herself fashioning other practical pieces people use on the daily. To order your own, visit their IG.