Lockdown To Catwalk: 11 Fashion Masks For The Next Phase – Forbes

As parts of Europe and the United States emerge from coronavirus lockdown to face the new normal, a concern for safety remains in place. How to protect vulnerable communities as the world waits impatiently for the Covid-19 vaccine. One of the most common solutions is a requirement to wear masks while in public.

Daily Life In New York City Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 24: A person wears a protective face mask in Washington Square Park during … [+] the coronavirus pandemic on May 24, 2020 in New York City. Government guidelines encourage wearing a mask in public with strong social distancing in effect as all 50 states in the USA have begun a gradual process to slowly reopen after weeks of stay-at-home measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

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More and more federal and local governments are making the once antisocial practice mandatory. It is causing intercultural controversy in some places, as France maintains its ban on full-face coverings like burqas. Disputes over access to shops with or without masks can turn deadly. Masks teach us valuable history lessons about the pandemics of the past. Masks are being joked about on late night comedy shows. Masks even star in new categories of pornography. Masks rule 2020! 

Animals At Cabarceno Nature Park Are Cared For During Coronavirus Pandemic

SANTANDER, SPAIN – MAY 25: Visitors wearing protective masks while watching the bird show on May 25, … [+] 2020 in Santander, Spain. Cabarceno Nature Park is open for the public again after the coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates Images/Getty Images)

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In March, I wrote about the global political implications of wearing masks. In April, I profiled fashion designers who were among the first to creatively respond to the changing reality. Both articles went viral. Our interest in the subject is growing since most of us not have to abide by the laws and consider masks as an integral part of everyday life. Keys, wallet, mask!

DC Memorial Day

UNITED STATES – MAY 25: Friends of the National World War II Memorial and the National Park Service … [+] host a private Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington on Monday, May 25, 2020, to remember and honor the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during World War II. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

While the World Health Organization has issued the statement that “medical masks should be reserved for health care workers”, non-medical grade face coverings have been found extremely useful. Seven most common types of masks recently tested by the University of Glasgow researchers helped reduce transmission of the virus. We can now exercise caution and responsibility while staying true to our sense of fashion or experimenting with different styles. Here are eleven designer choices that turn Personal Protective Equipment aka PPE into the coolest summer accessory. Welcome to the next phase.

St. John

American luxury brand repurposed its workshops to manufacture washable, non-surgical, white face masks to fight the shortage of PPE for various essential workers. It has been producing up to 85,000 masks per week out of antimicrobial water-repellent fabric. Now limited-edition knit pique care masks are available to the public. Three face masks will be donated for each purchase. Style with a purpose! 

Clover

Based in Munich, this Bavarian label was the 2020 winner of Germany’s prestigious Red Dot Innovation Design award for its luxury bags. Now a series of protective masks in 12 warm colors is released to go with their latest spring-summer collection. Runway to the boardroom and home via the grocery store, these basic care masks are designed with top-notch quality materials and feature ventilators on both sides of the face for easier breathing. 

Marcell Von Berlin

Searching for masks with distinct personality and flair? Inspired by the unique DIY vibe of Berlin, this brand is creating masks by reusing interwoven, double-layered textiles. Ranging from solid colors to bold prints and even velvet sequins, there is something for anyone. As an example of social responsibility, all masks are sold at cost! Profiteering is not cool.

Lutani

Going for a softer feminine look, these masks are crafted out of silk, cotton, and viscose. They are designed with a removable cotton filter to allow reusable wear which makes it extremely versatile as a protective choice for any social setting. One of Russia’s exciting newcomers, the brand inspires “Admiration of the magical yourself”. Now you can be you anywhere safely. 

o5o

Designer Maria Savvina was the first designer to cancel her show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia this spring to focus on creating necessary PPE for the Muscovites. She is an expert because she has been specializing in masks even before the pandemic. Her embroidered neoprene masks are unique pieces of art. Consider this a healthy investment in your wardrobe! 

Happy People

Israeli bridal couturier Yarden Oz faced uncertainty when COVID-19 shut down the wedding industry. With social gatherings on a temporary hiatus, the designer started creating clever masks after one of her creations went viral on social media. Given the demand and attention, she began producing the range of graphic print masks to make people happy during this unhappy time.

Savvy Masks

Designer Stav Ofman recently graduated from Israel’s fashion alma mater Shenkar College. She had first started making masks from leftover fabrics during her schooling. As the times changed and purchase inquiries as well as media requests started to pour in, she took the initiative to launch her brand dedicated to masks. Her range of stylish prints continues to surprise and delight!

Palo Rose Beachwear

The lockdowns are easing just in time for summer. As lounging by the water is a top hot weather activity, the question of safety at the beach or community pool is at the top of many people’s social distancing concerns. Designed in Colombia by Carolina Ordonez, these fun print masks showcase quintessential tropical vibe. Make an elegant statement and get noticed from afar! 

Elexis Beachwear

We might be witnessing the next fashion history milestone. A popular Italian brand made headlines with their “Trikini”. It’s a bikini with a matching face mask. How chic is that?! The designers at this “artisanal laboratory of costumes for the sea” are taking anxiety out of matching choices. Now your moods and styles align for the dolce vita summer days wherever you spend them. 

Greedilous

Founded by designer Younhee Park, this South Korean brand is the epitome of contemporary urban glam with a global twist. Park creates rebellious looks and bold accessories for “a Goddess of Beauty” in each of her customers. The streetwear couture vibe is strong at her shows which made the label a must-have ticket at Seoul Fashion Week. Now you can light up your social media, too!

The RealReal

Gypsy Sport Tangerine Decorative Mask, $30.00, available at The RealReal.

Gypsy Sport Tangerine Decorative Mask

Courtesy of The RealReal

Charity is a core human value. The company has teamed up with Fashion Girls for Humanity for a limited release of custom reusable masks benefitting Gowns for Good. Founder Julie Gilhart notes: “When a disaster hits, I believe everyone should try to lend a helping handing however big or small…” Many cool designers have already contributed to the collection: Albertus Swanepoel, Alabama Chanin, Greg Lauren, Karla Collette, Maison Modulare, and others. What a beautiful way to make a difference while supporting next generation talent.

The post-Covid-19 future is bright. We just need to wear masks to get to it.

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