FOR MONTHS government officials advised us we only needed to wear a mask if we were ill or caring for someone who was. But last week the jury was wobbling on whether the average person should wear a nonmedical face mask outside the house. Then on Friday the verdict came down from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommending Americans “wear nonmedical cloth face covering as a voluntary health measure.” Top doc Dr. Anthony Fauci chimed in saying that wearing face masks was a way to help stifle the spread of COVID-19.
No matter what we were hearing, some thought it might not be a bad idea to don face protection, particularly when going to the grocery store started to seem scary. Unfortunately, in addition to surgical masks, nonmedical-grade cloth masks were as scarce as toilet paper on the shelves of a lot of grocery stores. Unless you wanted to wait until mid-May or so.
There are plenty of instructions all over the web for how to make your own mask, such as this tutorial on making a pleated face mask with a handkerchief and hair tie. Fortunately, for the rest of us not so talented or inclined, we’re seeing a cottage industry spring up.
This weekend a group of friends was texting on a whole bunch of topics when someone mentioned she knew a graphic artist—Naomi Maiberg— who was making face masks in playful patterns and colors for $20 each. Someone sent around some examples, and everyone wanted to order one or more. She says in an e-mail,“I am not highly skilled or fast but getting better,” she says. While supplies last she’s including a hepa filter.
L.A.-based fashion brand Sanctuary has launched its Essential Lifestyle Masks for consumers. On its website the company says it’s using its resources and the profits of its lifestyle masks to produce over 5 million N95 masks to support the medical community.
Katie May makes masks out of their top-quality evening fabrics. For each one purchased, the bridal wear company will donate three utility masks to front-line workers in its Los Angeles community.
Don’t underestimate the power of improvising. LEFT: Noticed on York Avenue on NYC’s Upper East Side, Lisa has expertly wrapped a long scarf around her mouth and nose, securing it with a knot around her neck and battening it down with a thick knit wool scarf. RIGHT: Bandanna Nanna-cy suits up for an excursion to the dog park and/or to Costco. / Photos / Nancy McKeon.
ABOVE: Pittsburgh-based graphic artist Naomi Maiberg started making masks for her family a couple of weeks ago, and now she has a backlog of orders. While supplies last, she includes a removable “hepa” filter; all have a flexible wire to mold to your face. There are at least eight patterns available at last glance. Each mask is $20. Contact her through Etsy.
ABOVE: LeighDeux offers a collection of headboards pillows, duvets and other furnishings for small spaces including dorms, apartments, and homes. The company is using it whimsical fabrics to make machine-washable microfiber masks (7″ x 3.5”). 100 percent of profits will be donated to Corona Relief. Available in Tanzania print (shown above) and four color choices (millennial pink, lavender, peacock and nero), the masks are $12 each at leighdeux.
Philadelphia Eagles fans who want this particular pattern (left) are out of luck. The Throwback eagles logo (right) is the only option available. Not a sporty girl? Other choices include mint polka dot and colorful hands above. Made from two layers of durable, breathable 100% cotton, the one-size-fits-all mask is $14 on Etsy ShopNikNaksByNik. Nik says they are “extremely slammed.” Allow 4-6 business days for orders.
ABOVE: Besides producing medical-grade masks, fashion label Sanctuary has begun making Essential Lifestyle Masks, available in disposable 5-pack sets for pre-order for $28. They’re expected to ship by April 15. The company notes that they will soon be producing individual, reusable masks.
LEFT: A little glam for the grocery store, the Katie May multi-layered Make It Fashion face mask ($35) is constructed of corded lace, a sparkle tulle underlay and delicate lace trim. RIGHT: Maison Modulare makes artisan masks of denim for $28, as well as fancier ones of jacquard and lace for $60. The model above is already sold out.