Shining On

Probably nothing has symbolized the coronavirus pandemic more than the ubiquitous face mask.

It has become the prevalent symbol of both despair and hope: despair that things will never be the same from here on, and hope that even now without yet a proven cure or vaccine, wearing a face mask is one of the best things one can do to protect oneself from being infected.

One of Cagayan de Oro’s leading couturiers and stylist has chosen to focus on the face mask’s message of hope by raising the face mask to a symbol of hope and determination.

Shine J. Casiño (Portrait by Bo Daclan)

“Since we are in a new normal way of living, part of it is wearing face masks. We all know that masks are for protection and prevention, but for me your mask speaks of how you really feel towards our present situation. Many feel stress and depression. I’ve been thinking of how to alleviate such feelings,” said Shine J. Casiño, who finished a strong first runner up in the 3rd Habi Kadaywan fashion and design competition held in Davao City last year that showcases the ingenuity and global ready fashion designs of Mindanawnon designers.

Since the initial lockdown following the outbreak of the local pandemic had virtually prevented him from pursuing his usual business, Shine decided to turn to designing and manufacturing face masks that would not merely serve as protection, but also as a fashion statement and symbol of the wearer’s resilience.

“Fashion is not a privilege. It’s a more of a therapy in this time,” he opined. “The mask that you wear will serve both as your fashion and your therapy, and I want to be the one to provide you with both.”

Recently branded with the trade name ILLUMINA, Shine’s face masks are executed a variety of colors and designs, and usually made from neoprene though customers can also choose from a variety of other materials.

The one of a kind masks are appliquéd with laces and crystals symbolizing life and hope. Silk ribbons and satin are also planned for his coming line of men’s face masks.

“I hope my face masks would help spread positivity, that despite the pandemic we’re facing, there remains and always be hope,” Shine said of the philosophy ingrained in his ILLUMINA face masks.

“I am full of hope that I can also help add life to those who feel hopeless and I always see to it that my creations are affordable without risking quality. More than that, they should be wearable, comfortable and can be of used by people from all walks of life.”

Shine used the brand name ILLUMINA since it connotes giving light to or to illuminate. As a proprietary name, it also best illustrates the qualities I want to highlight in my face masks: quality that is immediately visible in the light of day, protection you can see, and most of all, light that gives off hope and inspiration.

“It’s also a play of words on my nickname, so through my masks I can help shine light on the darkness that now pervades the world and lift the spirits of the depressed.”

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