Masks: the new must-have accessory, figuratively and literally

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Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Instead of the standard surgical mask (seen here), many people from various cultures are getting creative with their masks during this pandemic.

“You want to ‘mask in style,’” says one talented fashion designer, Inga Gubeka.

As everyone should know by now, masks are here in the United States and they are here to stay. From the average surgical mask to one Palestinian mother’s creation of masks made out of cabbage, there is no shortage or creativity to explore here. 

One thing to note, however, is much like the cabbage mask, fashion and creativity is not a substitute for safety. It is important to check the CDC guidelines on masks and make sure you are properly protecting yourself and others!

Find out more information about mask safety here.

Masks are now a prominent part of the day-to-day life of many different cultures. Fortunately, this means that there are all kinds of different, unique styles of masks to witness, such as this Thailand inspired mask created by Kennedy Gasper.

It’s the new way of expression. I don’t even have to speak, so you know from the masks that I wear what I am feeling”

— Lauren Fajado

Quickly, we are seeing masks go from an unfamiliar hassle to a form of expression.

“It’s the new way of expression. I don’t even have to speak, so you know from the masks that I wear what I am feeling,” says Lauren Fajado, designer and co-owner of Cuban fashion brand Dador.

While masks are a new great way to express our feelings without speaking, they pose a problem for those hard of hearing. Not many people know that 55% of communication is visible.

People living with hearing loss rely on reading lips as a clue to what someone is saying. Since masks cover up the mouth, designers have come up with a new mask design that allows others to see your lips move, while still being protected. 

College student, Laken Brooks, makes clear face masks for those hard of hearing.

While many designers such as runway designer Michael Costello and other corporations have taken the initiative to help our essential workers by mass-producing many masks for everyday wear, other companies are selling masks for hundreds of dollars. 

Take the diamond-studded, $1.5 million Yvel mask for example. 

Luckily for the average person who doesn’t typically wear 24-carat gold on their face, a $7 six-pack of regular surgical masks from Walmart should work just fine. 

Despite how easy it is to acquire a mask, some people still need a little more incentive. 

Designer Samia Al Zakleh is no stranger to this fact. When discussing her own work on fashion masks, she claims, “The aim behind the mask is to encourage people to wear it.”

Zakleh makes high quality, fashionable masks to add more excitement and a sense of fashion to the ordinary mask.

Other designers use this as an opportunity to promote upcycling and sustainability. Designer Geisel Lopez, who uses PVC pipe to make her waterproof masks, explains this when describing her mask inspired by the 1918 flu. This design incorporates the use of flowers and sage without the use of the original design of the 1918 mask.

The rise of fashionable masks has also helped out many small businesses who are feeling the economic damage of the pandemic. Across the world in a traditional handicraft village in Vietnam, face mask designer Do Quyen Hoa revives her business by creating beautiful, intricate masks for sale.

Popular trends have also found their way into mask fashion. The Strawberry Dress by Lirika Matoshi was all the rage on the popular social media app TikTok last summer. Now we are seeing the matching strawberry face mask emerge.

Whether you like to go all out with your masks or stick with a basic black mask to go with all of your outfits, there is no doubt that you will be protecting yourself and others with style!

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