As New York City distributes millions of cloth and non-medical face coverings and parts of Europe make masks mandatory in public, fashion designers are creating their own versions.
And while larger businesses such as clothing company Eileen Fisher have been making face coverings for police and fire departments, a raft of other fashion labels are now making non-medical masks to sell to consumers.
Step forward Bravado, the merchandise arm of Universal Music Group (UMG) that sells band T-shirts, which is now making face masks featuring the likes of Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and Queen for $20 apiece, donating net proceeds to music charities. The Eilish version features her green Blohsh logo, a symbol that appears on her merchandise line, while a Rolling Stones version features its open mouth marque. UMG started off by distributing face masks to employees and will donate 50,000 masks to community workers.
MaskClub, meanwhile, is selling Hello Kitty and Batman-branded masks, and was set up by licensed merchandise manufacturer Trevco last month. It claims to be "the first ever branded subscription face mask website," with the option to sign up and be sent a mask each month. The site will donate to the First Responders Children's Foundation for each mask bought.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made an executive order for all New Yorkers to wear face coverings in public and on Monday the city started to distribute 5 million three-ply non-medical masks and 2.5 cloth face coverings. In Portugal, where hair salons, dry cleaners and other businesses are returning to work, masks are compulsory in public, while in Belgium people are required to wear them on public transport, opening up the market for this new item.
Smaller fashion designers, such as California-based Angela Frost who sells ribbons, velvet flowers and pillows via her Etsy shop, is now selling a shantung silk pink tie-died mask for $26, while Bulgaria-based label FloAtelier is selling a denim version for $15. Etsy CEO Josh Silverman noted some sellers are shifting from making items such as wedding dresses to creating face coverings after the company put out a call for them to make masks last month.
Etsy-listed items such as masks and hand sanitizers aren't medical grade, and sellers can't make medical or health claims, the site states.
@modsofdiversity Global fashion search platform Lyst has published its ranking of the world's hottest fashion brands and products for Q1 of 2020. And guess what: the Most Searched-For Fashion Item of 2020 So Far Is Virgil Abloh's F/W 2019 Off-White arrow-emblazoned black cotton men's face mask.
Model Karolina Kurkova is selling a range of masks via the Billie Blooms website in collaboration with founder Ashley Liemer, with a lip-print cotton design selling for $20. "We really wanted to study how do we make it more comfortable, so there's room to breathe, so the elastic doesn't dig behind the ears … if we were going to make it, we wanted to make it the best mask version possible," Kurkova stated in a video on the shop's website. For each mask someone buys, the company will donate one via the nonprofit Feeding America.
Meanwhile, hip New York brand Rag & Bone is making a $30 plaid "Stealth Mask," donating $5 for every purchase to food truck nonprofit City Harvest. But if you want a mask from label of the moment Off-White, you'll have to wait. It launched a mask featuring a crossed arrow design last summer, before the outbreak of Covid-19, and has inadvertently become a must-have accessory, being listed as the "hottest men's product" in the world by fashion data site Lyst last week. It is now sold out.