You’re not ready for the outdoors without a sunhat… and a face mask. Fashion designers and clothes makers are getting in on the new look.
Face masks could take on fashion accessory status now that they are fusing into the dress code.
Designers are creating their own ranges and others using fancy fabrics to sew some style into this safety measure.
Design duo Charles & Ron have just started opening their shops after their studio was at a complete standstill due to the outbreak, and in the hope of beginning to make ends meet, they are producing their own logoed face masks.
“We have been inundated and overwhelmed by unexpected requests from the more fashion conscious out there, who figure that if they have to wear a mask, it may as well be on trend,” the designers said.
The face mask, the feel, is poised to be “the accessory of the season in addition to what we wear to go out – just like we wear a hat to protect us from the sun”.
Sewing has now resumed and the masks may keep things going, following the cancellation of weddings and parties – a core part of their business.
The label is currently only catering for orders and eventually may stock its shops.
The Charles & Ron masks come in plain black with a minute metal logo, or flaunt the label’s monogram. The designers are also looking into using their fancier fabrics to match the patterns of the brand’s clothing.
The high-fashion four-ply masks, using also breathable viscose, will retail at €20. The outlets will be offering shoppers disposable ones for free.
Rosemarie Abela Fashion Studio is selling her own reusable pure cotton masks, with a pack of two costing €8, each layered three times, while seamstress Elvia Leone Ganado is handmaking a colourful and sanitised range.
Ten-year-old Yulan Law has been overwhelmed by the number of orders for her masks since her Facebook post on Monday about putting her time after schoolwork and hobbies to good use.
“I wanted to do something to help others while staying safe at home. I am always watching my mother sew my costumes and my grandmother taught me basic stitches, so I created clothes for my dolls when I was younger,” she said.
If they have to wear a mask, it may as well be on trend
“When I got the idea for this little project, I watched some online tutorials, tried out some masks with the help of my mum and liked the result.”
Yulan received over 100 orders from that post and can churn out around 10 masks an hour, so she is dedicating two to three hours a day to the cause. Already, she cannot take more orders this week.
The masks are finished off on her sewing machine for a “nice edging”. They cost €3, and any profits are for Puttinu Cares, which has a special place in Yulan’s heart, especially now that the sick children it caters for cannot receive visitors.
“I wish I could go there and hug them all, but hopefully I’ll send them a nice sum of money from the proceeds instead,” she said.
The owner of Chloe’s Closet Malta, an online, 100 per cent organic cotton, kidswear store, has stocked up on eco-friendly face masks for children, with no crease pockets for dirt to accumulate.
Melanie Cremona said she would never have imagined having this type of product on her clothing site, which aims to promote sustainability and move away from toxins and chemicals.
Last month, Bortex Fine Tailoring, a leading manufacturer and retailer of quality tailored garments, embarked on the production of face masks, manufacturing 6,000 so far, mainly for corporate clients but also the public.
In a bid to add more colour to a bland item that is set to become part of everyday life, the company has given a mask to 10 artists to paint on.
“The idea is to defuse the drama. Many complain about the masks, but as artists, we can see the beauty in something that is least likely to inspire this and create something fun with them,” says James Vella Clark, who is about to put his artistic limited-edition touch on his.
Until recently, it has been unclear whether masks should be worn, with some calling for them and health authorities specifying they could be ineffective if used incorrectly.
Since Monday, however, masks have become mandatory in shops and on public transport, and the price of disposable surgical masks has been capped at 95c, with the government paying the difference to pharmacies.
Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has said non-medical masks, made of 100 per cent cotton, with three to four layers of cloth for protection, can be used.
Surgical masks should, ideally, be reserved for healthcare professionals, and a pillowcase or cotton T-shirt are the most suitable household materials for an improvised version.
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