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Saturday, August 08, 2020

How face masks are becoming fashion accessories

Some designers are also adding face masks to their runway collections

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2020 2:10:20 pm
designer face mask Designer face mask by luxury brand Collina Strada (Source: collinastrada/Instagram)

Face masks are not just the new ‘normal’ but they are also turning into fashion accessories. Apart from opening up business opportunities for home sewers, luxury brands have also been cashing in on its increasing demand by making pricey face masks. From varying prints to colours and designs, there is now a range of designer masks available to cater to one’s sartorial taste.

Some designers are also adding face masks to their runway collections. Collina Strada is selling printed masks, tied with bows, priced at USD 100 (Rs 7,498). Proenza Schouler, another women’s luxury brand, is producing masks in silk-viscose blend satin and nylon-cotton gingham print. Also, Prabal Gurung is selling masks made of floral jacquard fabric at USD 55 (Rs 4,124).

According to a report by Quartz, a lot of these luxury fashion companies seem to have made a limited number of masks and are donating some or all of the proceeds from sales to COVID-19 relief efforts or other causes.

Read| The 2020 Indian wedding has a new essential: Matching face masks

While face masks began to surface as protective gear, their designer counterparts are more than that — they are as much about the visual statement.

Face coverings from Off-White, a company by Virgil Abloh, men’s creative director at Louis Vuitton, has also been grabbing a lot of attention. A USD 95 (Rs 7,125) Off-White mask printed with diagonal intersecting arrows was recently deemed the hottest men’s product of the quarter by fashion search engine, Lyst. Off-White, however, has been making anti-pollution face masks for quite some time and reportedly sold it mostly to customers in Asia. Rappers like Travis Scott and Future have been wearing Off-White masks since 2016, revealed Lyst.

Masks are also a growing category on a sneaker and streetwear resale marketplace called StockX. The mask sales have tripled, coupled with increasing price, during the coronavirus-lockdown, according to StockX’s senior economist Jesse Einhorn, reported Quartz.

Masks produced by Off-White and a streetwear brand called A Bathing Ape are emerging as the most popular.

StockX has been selling about 200 units of face masks a month of one particular Off-White mask with diagonal black-and-white stripes, up from around 80 prior to the lockdown, Einhorn said. Bape’s WGM shark mask is another top seller, with about 40 selling per month and an average resale price of USD 124 (Rs 9,295) as of this writing, a big premium over its USD 40 (Rs 2,998) retail price.

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