Nadia Macha-Bizoumi (Democritus University of Thrace, Greece). Sartorial and Body Practices of the Quarantine Era: dowry clothes that became masks

The study documents the involvement of seamstresses in covering the need for personal protective equipment, such as masks, which very quickly disappeared from the Greek market due to the fear of virus transmission. This started as a private initiative on a voluntary basis. The inability to find material given that stores were closed, often led, as for example among seamstresses in Thrace, to the use of hassés — a white cotton cloth from which sheets and pillowcases are made — from family dowries. These are materials of sentimental value, which are now charged with an additional symbolic burden, that of protecting the vulnerable human body. The crisis, therefore, seems to be activating a reflex action of solidarity, which is evolving into a chain of offering and mutual aid, satisfying practical as well as emotional/psychological needs. The handmade fabric mask becomes a garment that expresses vulnerability, an embodiment of the will to survive, a malleable form of shielding the self but also protecting the other.

Athena (Nadia) Macha-Bizoumi>>