Before Covid-19 blew up in Europe, we were only used to seeing face masks in catwalks — Marine Serre SS20 show looks like a premonition now — or on influencers who tried to implement a trend via Instagram. Yet, despite of the thousand followers that these Instastars had, it has been a virus who is responsible for the current, hottest trend: the face mask.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been advised multiple times not to leave our house unless it’s completely necessary (e.g.you are marching against police brutality and fighting for human rights) and, in that case, to wear a mask and keep a social distance. As a result, many sewing-skilled-individuals started to come forth with their creations, making patchwork-masks to help people protect themselves and others.
The need to produce an item that was not accessible or easy to find, created a new niche in the fashion industry — which was quickly filled by the varying designers, fashion outlets and homegrown seamstresses who started to retail their masks. As soon as the number of virus cases started to plummet, the fashion industry went from simply funding safe, medically approved masks to designing personal and stylish ready-to-wear ones.
Let’s be honest: fashion is always creating new crazes and trends and this one is no different. Suddenly, a pandemic happens, and we need a different mask for every day — and night — of the week.
Within the last month, some fashion brands have already inaugurated a “face mask” section in their websites where they provide customers with cool and reusable fabric face coverings. This new trend has also reached the political sphere where women like Nancy Pelosi and Zuzana Čaputová have been seen matching their masks with their outfits while attending to official events. Even though they don’t prevent the virus from spreading, textile face masks seem to have become the new accessory to combine your outfit with.
This new trend has also shed light on local and new voices who have bloomed during the pandemic by designing dashing masks. In Spain, for example, Beatriz Peñalver or La Condesa have broken records within days by selling out exclusive designs and limited-edition masks that match with other on-brand items. In the UK, Mali Studios handcrafted organic masks to not only help customers, but also the NHS by donating with every purchase. They have encouraged fashion clientele to buy locally in order to improve the worn out financial situation that many fashion companies are going through at the moment. Due to the lockdown, many small fashion businesses were forced to shut their production and activity completely, and buying masks has become a way to help and support those who are struggling.
In addition, celebrities like Ed Westwick have partnered with NGOs and companies to raise money to fight for social issues like racism or homophobia by selling masks. Yes, we might be in the middle of a pandemic but we’ve gained a new fashion trend along the way. Who said 2020 was worthless?