Face masks as a fashion trend

It is a weird time we are living in right now. Despite the distances and division in the world nowadays, it feels like we are all living the same lives: being restricted from going anywhere and living in quarantine. When we do go outside, it is mostly for essentials like groceries or those who are not able to work from home and have to travel there. Every country has different measures in place (in some cases being lifted to a certain extent) but one seems to be almost everywhere: face masks. And while it is used as a safety measure, fashion brands have used this as an opportunity to make it into a trend. Some were already doing this way before the pandemic (think Billie Eilish in the Gucci face mask at the Grammys last January) and high fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, and Christian Siriano, having turned their businesses into factories making face masks for those working in health care. 

Leaving the medical face masks for healthcare workers on the frontlines, some brands have jumped on the bandwagon and are making face masks more than just a blend cloth that takes up half of your face. As we are not able to communicate the way we used to with our faces covered up, people are using face masks to do just that, as fashion has always been a form of self-expression. While a lot of brands and businesses are quick to point out that it is not a fashion accessory in times like these, it does not mean the eye also wants something when it covers up so much of your face. With DIY tutorials popping everywhere, you can easily make one if you are a little creative. However, brands are here for those who rather leave it up to someone else. 

While brands do make face masks to have some sort of revenue stream, most of them also put (part of) it towards relief efforts any way they can. Some designers have a ‘buy one, donate one’ policy. Others try to use left-over fabrics to try and reduce waste and up-cycle. Right now, there is a vast amount of options if you want to have a fashionable face mask. From one color to patterns to bohemian to floral. There is something for everyone. And you do not have to look far if you also want a face mask that put some of its sales towards COVID-19 relief efforts. Prices range from affordable to expensive so you can spend however much you want. The eco-conscious brand Christy Dawn, located in Los Angeles, has made sustainable masks that you can buy as a 5-pack for $30. For every five masks sold, they donate five masks to those in need.

If you want to spend a significant amount of money on face masks, here are some examples. Proenza Schoeler put out a selection of seven limited edition face masks that go for $100 each. They are reusable and one is even made of satin. 100% of net proceeds do go to the New York City Mayor’s Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. So while you are spending a lot of money on just one face mask, all proceeds will go to where it needs to go at this time. Fun fact: all face masks of this brand are sold out at the moment. A similar initiative launched with a limited-edition face mask of Collina Strada. Also going for $100, purchasing one of these face masks, five will go towards healthcare workers in New York City. The company also states that if this face mask is out of your price range and you need one for you or a sick loved one, you can reach out to them and they will send you other masks at no charge.

It just goes to show that the fashion community is rallying together and trying their hardest to not just make ends meet but also put their resources available towards this pandemic. While these resources differ per brand, the endless dedication does not. Whether this is a trend to stay for years to come is questionable in my opinion (hopefully this whole ordeal will be done by then and a vaccine/solution is found) but when buying one for right now, you at least have the option to wear one you like and at the same time help contribute fighting the virus and support relief efforts. 

By Julia