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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | editor, Hong Kong

TAL Apparel safeguards the world through local design and ingenuity

The state-of-the-art enro® mask offers unmatched comfort and protection.

Necessity is truly the mother of invention. When the pandemic caused a severe mask shortage early in 2020, pioneering fashion company TAL Apparel poured all its expertise into designing the best washable consumer face mask in the market.

TAL is known for making apparel for famous brands such as Lacoste, Dillard’s and David Donahue. Innovation is built into the company’s DNA. TAL established Hong Kong’s first textile mill in 1947 and has since evolved into a global clothing manufacturer. The mask shortage caused by the pandemic pushed TAL to think on its feet and find ways to protect its employees.

The mask was originally only meant to protect TAL’s 26,000 employees. News spread like wildfire, however: soon, the company’s clients were asking it to make its masks available to the public. The project quickly took on a life of its own. By June, TAL had shipped over 50 million masks to customers around the world, including the U.S. Government and Berkshire Hathaway.

Because of the runaway success of its washable face masks, TAL then turned its efforts into designing a reusable mask that is both highly protective and breathable. This effort produced a revolutionary product in the form of the enro® mask.

The enro® mask is the first reusable mask with an integrated filter. It can be machine-washed for up to 100 times, and it maintains effective protection against bacteria and viruses with a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of over 99% both before wash and after 100W, viral filtration efficiency (VFE) of over 99% before wash and over 98% after 100W and a particulate filtration efficiency (PFE) of over 98.5% before wash and from 88% to 90% after 100W. It features a long-lasting antimicrobial finish on the inner and outer layers to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms, and has a water-repellent outer layer to block off respiratory droplets. It has a snug fit coupled with an adjustable nose bridge and ear loops, ensuring maximum comfort even for prolonged wearing.

The mask is extremely breathable and weighs less than 10 grams. It was engineered in TAL’s Hong Kong R&D Centre using 3D computer-aided design and face scanning technology. The mask’s painstaking design required over 10,920 man-hours of technical design effort, as well as over 600 prototypes and wear trials over the period of seven months.

The mask is offered in six sizes and can fit 95% of the population. It is also available in different colors and patterns, allowing users a range of options that can match any outfit ensemble. Using this washable mask helps each consumer to save 361 disposable masks from landfill in a year.

TAL’s customers are beyond pleased with the enro® mask. “We have always known TAL to be the world’s best shirt maker. And this top-notch design and manufacturing capability is also being employed making premium masks,” noted Bob Getto, President & CEO, of The Fechheimer Brothers Company, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. “Personal protective equipment has become an important part for the health & safety of employees and our communities, and we look forward to continuous innovation with TAL,” he added.

Innovation has been part of TAL’s corporate DNA since it was first founded in Hong Kong over 70 years ago. For using its expertise to craft a smart healthcare solution in the midst of global crisis, TAL Apparel was recognized at the 2020 Designed in Hong Kong Awards - Healthcare Apparel category.

Watch the interview below to know more about their company and their winning product:

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