The fashion world often predicts the mood and outlook for the coming year. In early 2020, designer face masks appeared on fashion runways in Paris. As the need for masks persisted much longer than originally predicted, more people began to wonder, “Are face masks becoming the newest fashion accessory?”
From Surgical Mask To Cottage Industry
In the early days of the pandemic, we were warned not to buy masks because of a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. But the science made it clear that masks helped limit the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. What were we to do?
Enter the crafters, the volunteers, and even Rosie the Riveter herself. People started sewing cloth masks at home, with multiple layers and pockets for filters. Etsy shops selling textile goods added colorful, patterned masks. Soon it seemed as if every retailer, whether their core business had anything to do with healthcare or not, was offering face masks for sale.
Enter the Designers
As it became apparent that face coverings were here for an extended stay, fashion designers took note and began to feature masks with bows, beads, sequins, and logos. Businesses soon followed suit, with custom logo face masks for employees, customers, and influencers who support their brands.
While the general public was still consigned to surgical masks made in China or improvised (and largely ineffective) masks made from bandanas and neck gaiters, the crafters and retailers kept busy on the creative side, adding patterns and technical improvements like adjustable straps and better filter pockets.
Masks Are Here To Stay
Although it would appear that the answer to “Are face masks become the newest fashion accessory?” is yes, we must remember the cyclical nature of fashion. Things change season to season. If the day ever comes when it’s safe to go without a mask, it’s a fair bet that designers or TikTok influencers will decide that it’s time to get nostalgic for the early 20s and start wearing surgical masks, bandana masks, and logoed masks again.
The bottom line is that you should maintain a wardrobe of custom face masks for fashion and keep a boxful of N95 masks in your supply cabinet to protect yourself and your loved ones from the next variant.