Twickenham designer switches from wedding dresses to face masks in lockdown

By Zoe Osterloh
August 10 2020, 11.25

A Twickenham wedding dress designer has put her sewing skills to use making face masks – some complete with bridal crystals – as lockdown saw many celebrations postponed.

In a normal year, Tatiana Porembova designs bespoke wedding dresses at a couture bridal studio in Twickenham. When the lockdown forced many couples to postpone their weddings, she decided to temporarily switch production to face masks. 

After initially making masks for family and friends, many of her customers now come from the Twickenham Community Facebook page. 

“Our lives have been reduced to half a square mile, so local community has become the whole world.

“The local community has been the best, to be honest.” 

THE NEW NORMAL: A model poses in a face mask (complete with bridal crystals) designed by Tatiana Porembova. Picture credit: Tatiana Porembova

“I made a few prototypes and eventually worked out quite a good design that seems to tick the boxes in terms of comfort, breathability and ease of wear.” 

Since then, Tatiana has made more than 120 masks, some including leftover damask fabric from a wedding dress and others with an even more unusual design – army camouflage.

“I asked friends from the army if they could send their army trousers to me, and then I can comfortably make about six or eight masks using the army camouflage, and then turn the remains of the trousers into shorts.

“It’s become quite a popular option. We’ve found out, through trial and error, that proper issue army trousers are actually water repellent, which is ideal.” 

BRIDAL FASHION: Tatiana began making masks during lockdown. Picture credit: Tatiana Porembova

Face coverings became compulsory on public transport in England on June 15. 

Despite this, a YouGov survey of more than 3,000 adults conducted on July 24, the same day as new regulations on face coverings in English shops came into force, showed that only 40% of people nationally are ‘very clear’ about the new rules around wearing face masks. 

People in Scotland, where face coverings in shops became mandatory on July 10, have a much clearer understanding of the rules than those in other parts of Great Britain, with 60% reporting that they were ‘very clear’ about the new rules and 31% saying they were ‘fairly clear’.

In comparison, the survey showed that only 37% of Londoners are ‘very clear’ about the new rules, which is less than the national average, and 5% are ‘not clear at all’. 

The data also indicated that older people were more likely to be aware of the face coverings rules than younger people, with 53% of over 65s ‘very clear’ compared to only 32% of people aged 18 to 24. London is the sixth youngest city in the UK, with an average of 36.5 in 2018. 

Another survey conducted by YouGov on July 13-14 showed that people in the capital were less likely than people living elsewhere to have seen the Prime Minister wearing a face mask at least once.

Only 58% of Londoners reported seeing Boris Johnson wearing a face mask, compared to 74% of people in the rest of the south and and 73% of those in the Midlands and Wales.

Find out more about Tatiana’s face masks at:

Feature image credit: Tatiana Porembova.

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