The face mask has become the single most important fashion accessory of the year.
Only out of necessity, of course, but it’s not like that has stopped anybody from making a fashion statement with them. Designer masks are now a thing, and they’re selling for prices so exorbitant that you wonder why people aren’t just buying their high-tech alternatives instead. Or better yet, donating the money to various COVID-19 funds.
But we’re not here to judge. Instead, we’re here to propose making a different kind of statement with your face masks — a socially-conscious one. That’s what Singaporean tailor CYC is doing with the ones that they’re sewing and donating to the local migrant worker community. It’s a gesture that is echoed beyond our shores, where some of the biggest fashion brands are supplying healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic with the protective gear that they need.
Other labels, meanwhile, are giving back to organisations that provide COVID-19 relief through the sale of their own masks. Granted, theirs are non-medical, but you’ll be compensated by their reusability (fabric masks are washable), their creative designs and the fact that buying them supports a good cause. If you lack the sewing skills to stitch together your own mask, these are the ones we recommend wearing for the rest of the circuit-breaker.
Repurposing deadstock fabrics from its Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Helmstedt is offering sustainable silk cotton masks in an array of vibrant prints, including this bee-inspired design. Because these are upcycled, no two masks look the same, either. Furthermore, the Danish fashion label has pledged to donate all profits from the sale of its safety masks to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
As part of its Pomelo Cares initiative, the Asian fashion label is offering a set of three face masks made with quick-dry cotton. The masks come in white, grey and baby pink, and are good for up to 10 washes. More soothing than their simple designs is the fact that Pomelo will use profits from their sale to purchase medical equipment for a hospital in Singapore.
Re/Done, known for its celebrity-approved upcycled jeans, has applied the same sustainable principles to its face masks. Their designs are made from leftover vintage denim scraps or, in this case, found bandanas. Both are lined with 100% cotton for extra coverage, and for every purchase, the L.A. label will donate five masks to healthcare workers in America.
If you like faces on your face mask (and a little irony), this Alice + Olivia one is a great option. The face belongs to the New York label’s founder Stacey Bendet (hence “Staceface”), but that’s a secondary detail for the jersey mask, which features two layers. You can also remove its stitching to add a filter for extra protection. With each mask sold, Alice + Olivia will donate one to “communities in need.”
For those who live by the rule “silk face mask on the streets, luxe loungewear in the sheets”, KES NYC has you covered. Their washable masks comes in various shades of the glossy fabric, including cobalt blue and this dusk berry shade. They’re also fully adjustable thanks to their drawstrings, and they come in kid’s sizes in case you feel like twinning with your little one. Every purchase will lead to a mask being donated to a healthcare professional.
These “Lifestyle Fashion Masks” come in sets of five, each made with cotton fabric in Sanctuary’s signature prints, such as camo and leopard. Like your standard disposable mask design, however, they are pleated and feature an adjustable nose wire. For the sale of each set, the L.A. fashion label will provide masks to its city’s organisations.