COVID-19 propels the Rise of Designer Masks – Aussie companies out there
Melbourne, May 15: Fashion-forward face masks are a thing now — or they will be, according to writers at Vogue and other style prognosticators.
Turning masks into a fashion statement “is a good way to normalize them,” says fashion historian Valerie Steele.
“And to say you don’t need to be scared, you just need to be part of this. We’re all in it together.”
NPR’s New Normal host, Rachel Martin said that the most visible signs of our new normal are the masks.
Wearing masks in public is more common in some parts of the world, “just as essential as shoes when you leave the house,” Rachel said.
Steele, who is a historian of fashion in New York, noted how medical masks today, has given rise to the “fashion mask.”
“The idea of masks as personal protective technology, like medical masks, that’s something that goes back to the end of the 19th century.”
In conversation with Stacey Vanek Smith and Cardiff Garcia, Steele noted that today again, mask wearing is “ubiquitous”, but quite quickly also turning into a fashion statement.
Steele, director, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sees this opportunity as a “message of solidarity” when wearing a mask.
“I think that this idea of fashionising masks is a good way to normalize them and to say that you don’t need to be scared. You just need to be part of this. We’re all in it together”.
Some fashion designers and companies like rag & bone, Tanya Taylor, Madewell, have already pivoted to selling more masks with differing styles and designs.
Vogue’s new list of the 92 most stylish masks also includes Gucci Masks, similar to what Billie Eilish wore to the Grammys before the coronavirus was a pandemic.
Six Aussie companies are also making face masks – from luxe silk styles to high-visibility coverings and make-your-own options – ranging from $14 to $44.44, according to Broadsheet.
SisterWorks – a not-for-profit organisation supporting female refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, are making masks from donated cotton fabric and loose-weave muslin, with a pocket to insert extra layers, or a filter. $14
Sydney sleepwear brand Papinelle is selling pure silk masks using silk remnants sourced from Papinelle’s regular suppliers. They also have a pocket for inserting a generic filter. $39.95
Hey Reflect’o is selling hand-sewn, washable masks. $29
Japanese cafe and design warehouse Cibi has over 100 styles of traditional, hand-dyed fabrics called tenugui, which can be worn as scarves or headbands, or used as tea towels. They can also become cheerful homemade face masks with some simple folds and a bit of elastic. $25-$30
Brisbane fashion designer Gail Sorronda has black and white masks in a range of sizes. The masks are cotton lined with an embroidered net outer, and elastic ribbon. $44.44
K-Lee Design’s Karen De Aizpurua masks crafted from bamboo fabric, are “antibacterial, hypoallergenic… thermos-regulating properties.” $20
Fashion designers and manufacturers are making the most of the pandemic to ensure different styles are available in the market.