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The story of DETERMINANT: how a men’s shirt brand started making masks for the community

August 11, 2020

In February this year when mask shortages were getting dire, DETERMINANT, one of Esquel’s clothing brands, proved its agility when it started manufacturing masks for the community. Their expertise in cotton engineering and their unique supply chain allowed them to respond to a global need quickly and efficiently. A good example of how brands can turn challenging environments into opportunities to prove their relevance.

DETERMINANT has a simple proposition – exceptional quality, functional technologies, and modern style. These are the considerations that are found in the process of crafting DETERMINANT shirts. Now, the same have gone into their masks – DET30™. DET30™ is a story of how a men’s shirt brand turned to making masks for the community in a time of crisis.

Dee Poon, Managing Director at DETERMINANT stated: “The term “community masks” was pretty much still non-existent when we saw the world would need a more sustainable alternative to single-use medical masks. Leveraging our rich experience in cotton textile engineering and our unique vertical seed-to-shirt supply chain at the Esquel Group, we were well-positioned to quickly assemble an answer to that unmet need. Within two weeks, our mask standard was up, and materials, machines, and a team were put in place to roll out our first batch of non-medical, washable cotton masks.”

Over the first couple of months, DETERMINANT donated 300,000 masks as a quick-response relief. By June 2020, over 30 million DET30™ masks were shipped worldwide to serve both private and public sectors – a quantity enough to displace the use of close to one billion single-use masks, as each DET30™ could stand 30 washes. This initiative was proven to be a well-timed response as a public health tool, and one that kept workers in a job.

“Our values are what keep us afoot and drive us forward in times of adversity. The industry was hit hard not just by the pandemic but also by the rising geopolitical tensions. It is easy for businesses pressing the panic button, taking myopic measures, and going after quick profits. But we believe businesses that reflect and search for the answer to: “why should your business even exist”, will have a much better prognosis post-crisis, if not during.”

From shirts to masks, DETERMINANT remains focused on what they are best at – re-engineering the basics with functions that allow people to worry less and live more. “We have applied lab-proven anti-bacterial and water-repellant functions to our products so that customers can have peace of mind and look sharp. Whether you are at home or out and about, we’ve got you covered.”  


As a start-up brand, DETERMINANT is always working to improve customer experiences. They are interested in what you are looking for. Connect with them on Instagram and Facebook, @DETERMINANTOFFICIAL, and check out their Serai profile.