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Face Masks Are No Reason For The Fashion Industry to Roll Out a New Trend

  • 24th Jul 2020
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Face Masks Are No Reason For The Fashion Industry to Roll Out a New Trend

In ranks of providing the most safety, you must be wondering which face mask is approved by the government and should be worn while stepping outside. Due to the rise in the demand of face masks, hundreds of brands ranging from high-end luxury to start-ups have collectively begun to see a bright future in sewing and selling masks.

High-fashion luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani etc. are producing masks as a social responsibility because these brands are legally obliged to be donating a particular sum of money approved by the law towards the betterment of the society.

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Premium to accessible luxury brands are also diverging into sewing fancy masks with different kinds of embroidery to make sales. Many of these brands are also using the profits made out of selling these masks towards an initiative. Could be an initiative for women's empowerment, children's education or world poverty. On the other hand, many brands do this just for re-flow of revenue streams.

Premium brands are brands that are defined by their price-quality ratio. We pay extra for a premium brand because of the product quality, whereas luxury brands usually have a price which is far beyond their actual functional value.

High-fashion luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton will be donating non-surgical masks to a crowd of the population in health-care who are in need. They also sew PPE gowns for front-line workers and do this for donation. Not to mention, they don't use logos or tags on their masks or gowns. In addition, twenty volunteers have started producing thousands of gowns in the ready-to-wear Atelier located in Paris 'Rue Du Pont Neuf', home to Louis Vuitton's headquarters. These gowns will be donated to frontline workers in six Parisian hospitals.

So to summarise, luxury brands are donating non-surgical  masks,  premium/accessible  luxury brands are selling non-surgical masks and using those sales to donate to relief funds and start- up/   local   brands   are   making   non-surgical cotton masks mainly for commercial purposes.

The underlying fact remains, all these masks are non-surgical. Leaving the very few like Prabal Gurang and Nordstorm who sell cotton masks with double-lining and a replaceable filter paper. Officials say that a cotton mask with double-lining and a replaceable filter paper  can be as secure as a surgical mask. Surgical blue masks are approved by most governments and have almost become a necessity to wear on a regular basis before stepping out. N95 masks are the safest and most protective.

It means an N95 can block at least 95 percent of tiny particles — 0.3 microns — that are the hardest to capture, and an average human hair is about 70 to 100 microns wide.

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Top left - N95 face mask by 3M

Top right - Blue surgical mask

Bottom left - Double lining cotton mask with filter paper Bottom

Right - Cotton face mask

If not an N95, we can still be sure about the medical/surgical mask. If not even a surgical mask, the only one which could replace it is the cotton mask with double lining and a filter paper. If not any of these, alas, no piece of cloth marketed under the name of a mask will do you good. It does not protect you against the exposure of the virus, nor is it safe as you could potentially be a carrier.

The CDC has recommended that everyone covers their nose and mouth while exiting the house. As the surgical N95 masks are in short supply, ordinary citizens can opt for handmade masks. They can help reduce the spread of the virus by those who are asymptomatic and offer incremental protection against liquid particles. And in general, a mask is better than no mask.

Where there is a will, there is a way. There are some cotton applique masks that can give you the best of both. Since the mask covers a huge landscape on our face, it is quite likely that sooner or later humans will obsess over designs, colours and patterns they come in. Although, may it be aesthetic, a flowing revenue stream or mild safety, we're well aware that this stands dully and insignificantly over the actual harm of the pandemic. This is no real reason for the industry to roll out a trend trying to make this new necessity into a form of self-expression. It’s what the fashion industry does, by nature of its own, and it can provide a much-needed revenue source for companies that have seen business dry up. It is important to identify who is trying to sell what. It is advisable to buy from brands that have mentioned on their website where the money goes because that shows how transparent the brand is. While some brands may simply be jumping on the band wagon for the purpose of staying revlevant with the latest trends and making sales, others (especially smaller local businesses) seem genuinely keen on helping their communities. It is important to distinguish between the two, so as not to allow PPE wear to turn into a mere fashion trend.

Kim Kardashian recently launched her non-medical mask, Skims, in shades of nudes and they sold out within hours. Bane-inspired masks became an Etsy bestseller. Disney introduced reusable masks, printed with our favourite Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel characters, including Hulk, Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Off- White’s $95 ‘Arrow Logo Face Mask’ has become one of the most coveted items on the internet.

Here are a few updates from luxury brands and premium/accessible luxury brands are producing masks of different kinds as contribution towards the pandemic, and some are plainly for sales.


'SEAMLESS FACE MASK' by Skims priced at $8 mentions on their website, "Please note, while a mask can reduce exposure to dust, allergens, germs and bodily fluids, it is not a respirator and will not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection."

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'LIMITED RELEASE FLORAL JACQUARD FACE MASK' by Prabal Gurung priced at $55 mentions on their website, "10% of proceeds from online sales of masks and totes will go towards Prabal Gurung's ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. Please note that all sales of Prabal Gurung face masks are final.  Black Multi Content Body: 64% polyester, 36% cotton; Lining & Strap: 100% silk; Nose Stay: 100% copper"

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'Pleated Silk Face Covering' by Nordstorm priced at $42 mentions on their website, "This washable, reusable face covering with an adjustable nose wire and adjustable ear straps features a 100% mulberry silk outer layer and breathable cotton lining.This product is non-medical and intended as a face covering in settings when social distancing is difficult to maintain."

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'Logo Mask' by Off-White™ priced at $93 mentions on their website, "Black mask with Off-White™ logo printed at front. Wear the double elastic around the head and neck for comfort and stability.

The smaller elastic goes first around the neck, the second elastic goes over the ears. Mask height 12 cm Mask width 16 cm, Upper elastic length 34 cm, Lower elastic length 22 cm. Material: 100% Cotton." with no donation or supply chain details.

Everyone supports making the best out a bad time. All industries under art can be very theraputic and calming during times of un-certainity and disdain like this, but a trend is barely a thought that would cross the mind of anyone who has heard or felt the whispers of this virus.


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"City nights, friendly chatters and a glass of rosè is what nurtures the best conversations about fashion, most of which I pen down the next morning."Born in India and  raised in Dubai,  Vama Kothari could double as  your next door fashion critic. She keeps a keen interest in e... read more


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