Now that the world is in lockdown mode, we’ve all been asked to take special measures to reduce (and hopefully stop) the spread of the virus (vigorous hand washing and social distancing, among other things). Things have gotten pretty weird, that’s for sure.
One thing the CDC has made absolutely clear is that the general public should be sporting a protective face covering whenever they’re out-and-about. With essential N95 and medical masks in short supply for frontline workers, independent fashion designers and retailers are stepping up to help by creating fashionable cloth masks for “normal” people like us. So if you’re in need of a mask, here are a few options to choose from.
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THANK YOU for doing your part. THANK YOU to everyone risking their health to provide essential services and health care. THANK YOU for staying the fuck home. THANK YOU for all of your orders 💜💜💜 www.crespo.nyc . #donothingclub #coronafashion #brooklyn #mask #handmademask #facemask #etsy
When I was an undergraduate student living in North Carolina, I interviewed the (very talented) fashion designer Casey Crespo. Then, she was known for her work as a cutter/fitter/tailor in the film industry, making costumes for large scale productions in Atlanta, GA, and Wilmington, NC such as “Stranger Things,” “Dumplin,” “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” and Tim Burton’s
“Alice in Wonderland,” (just to name a few). Now, however, she’s using her talent to aid essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My boyfriend, who is a paramedic in NYC, communicated with me there is a shortage of medical masks and that he could not get the proper level of protection he needed for every call,” Crespo told COOLS. “This was infuriating. I started making masks to encourage the public to wear cloth masks, to leave the medical masks for the medical workers being exposed constantly on the front lines.”
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We've decided to make the most comfortable + stylish 😷masks our Poppy Row team couldn't find. 😷 We are producing a SUPER limited run now (shipping early next week) 😷 $13 (includes domestic US shipping) 😷 1 mask purchased = 1 mask donated to the frontline ❤ (we make no profit from these masks – all profits go to producing frontline masks while keeping unemployed professional LA sewers working from home while their factories are closed). Click the photo or #linkinbio to purchase ❤
Crystal Cave of Poppy Row, an LA-based size-inclusive and sustainable womenswear brand, is taking things to the next level with sustainable, size-inclusive masks. (Poppy Row masks are available in small, large, and children’s sizes.) Not only are these masks made with eucalyptus Tencel lining, 100 percent organic cotton canvas, and upcycled elastic ear bands (two filters cut from 3M Filtrete 1900 included), but for each mask sold, Poppy Row is gifting one brand-new mask to someone working on the frontline.
“As a consumer, I wasn’t finding masks that actually offered protection with attractive and timeless, yet fashion-forward patterns,” Cave told COOLS. “With this becoming our new normal, I knew I wanted a product that would allow me to merge comfort while expressing my personal style.”
Intimates and hosiery brand Wolford created the “WolfordCares” initiative in an effort to help healthcare institutions in Italy and Austria as part of the Fosun Global Anti-Virus Relief Scheme. According to the Wolford website, the company is doing everything in its power to ensure its workers and consumers are safe, including taking extra precautionary tasks such as sanitizing and treating each mask with a special UV-light to kill bacteria, viruses, and germs before packaging.
Liz Klafeta isn’t your typical fashion designer—she’s the sister of a badass healthcare worker and the creative mastermind behind Mr. Pink’s. One day, her sister (who works as a nurse) informed her that the medical facility had run out of masks and Klafeta, rightfully so, freaked out and too initiative.
“I thought this is nuts and started researching mask making,” Klafeta told COOLS. “The next day we had a sewing machine, prototypes made, and a full shipment out to my sister. The masks are 100% Cotton and triple-layer with a filter pocket. They are also reversible and washable, so super eco-friendly,” she continued. “We also wanted to make them fun (considering everything), so we made cool designs and patterns such as Donut Go Out (Donut Pattern), Rose All Day (at Home), which is a Rose pattern, and Barred Code, which is black and white small stripes with neon orange ear cords.”
“We are also rolling out new designs each week such as Tiger King, which is a Cheetah pattern and the Bow Mask, which is a headband and mask all-in-one, she added. “You know….so you can really look good at home. We are also adding on kid’s sizing and styles for the full family.”
Itty Bitty Bra
Itty Bitty Bra (as the name implies) is an intimate clothing site for smaller-sized (AKA petite) women and to help in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the company has repurposed its main product to act as a protective face mask. That’s right, you can now wear a bra cup on your face sans judgment. In addition to giving consumers the chance to finally wear sequins on their face (cue Roxxxy Andrews), Itty Bitty Bra is donating $1 for each mask sold to Feed America.
Alice + Olivia
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#MaskTogether our limited edition printed masks launch today on Aliceandolivia.com For the foreseeable future we must all be masked—-these are fun, sustainable, reusable limited edition printed masks made from excess fabric…. for every mask sold we donate a mask to hospitals and communities in need…!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
On April 6, the New York-based fashion brand Alice + Olivia announced that it would donate 5,000 masks to frontline workers in the U.S. The company also mentioned it would be adding a brand-new line of fashion-forward face masks to its online store (making it one of the first brands to sell protective face coverings commercially).
“Wearing masks is our shared responsibility to protect each other and reduce community transmission in order to stop the spread of the virus,” Stacey Bendet, the founder and CEO of Alice & Olivia, said in a press release. “Let’s #MaskTogether and show support for our community and the doctors, nurses, delivery workers, and first responders who are combatting this crisis on the front lines.”
Dana Cohen is a caring Brooklyn resident and the founder of Hyer Goods, a sustainable leather goods brand. When she heard that her local hospital (Kings County Hospital) was running low on supplies and were required to reuse each mask for one week straight, she decided to get to work by sewing masks in her apartment.
“I was feeling helpless that so many around me were suffering and so many others were putting their lives in danger and I could do nothing, so I started harnessing my anxiety into sewing masks in my apartment,” Cohen told COOLS. “I spent the first week sewing donations with fabric swatches and cuttings that I had laying around from old jobs, and then suddenly I was bombarded with requests to buy,” she continued. “I have a brand that uses deadstock and waste to make leather bags and wallets, so it felt natural to offer these upcycled masks to the public too! For every mask I sell I continue to donate one to an essential worker in need.”
Since she’s been in quarantine, NYC-based fashion designer Nicole Miller has been creating and sharing online tutorials on how to make protective face coverings from common household materials (think: T-shirt). In addition to showing shoppers how to make masks of their own, the Nicole Miller brand is donating 20,000 surgical masks to healthcare and frontline workers in New York City and Philadelphia.
“I’ve been making them [masks] for my friends and family and sharing tutorials on my social media and website so that everyone can learn how to make their own with items found in their homes,” Miller told COOLS. “Recently, I came up with an easy pattern to make masks with T-shirts and elastic hair ties. You can have some fun with them by choosing shirts with patterns and prints. We all need to do our part by staying home, staying connected, and of course, remembering to wash our hands!”
London-based fashion and jewelry designer Natasha Zinko is selling upcycled, reusable (machine washable) face masks from fabric leftover from previous collections—which means each mask is truly one-of-a-kind. What’s more? Fifty percent of each sale will be donated to the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust which includes Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St. Mary’s, and the Western Eye.