Are masks a passing pandemic fad or a new normal? Who thought that a worldwide pandemic could not only shift perspectives of the work environment but could also bring noticeable changes in fashion trends? Fashion certainly has the sheer magic of transforming our wardrobe essentials into exclusive pieces to carry. Consider the super trendy ripped jeans, which were originally designed for the working class to ensure durability, yet in no time, they became one of the most followed trends worldwide.
It began when people started wearing masks on the advice of the CDC to minimize the spread of COVID-19. However, nothing can be stowed from the eyes of our dynamic fashion world, considering how trendsetters have embraced masks. For some, masks may feel like a strange addition to their daily routine as they mask some of our normally exposed parts; however, not the slightest bit of this implies that we need to hide our personality as well. Masks are a way of self-expression in themselves. You just need to opt for the right print and aesthetic, which suits your personality. Additionally, wearing and purchasing masks to benefit those in need will contribute to our shared responsibility.
“I think fashion can do a lot. Fashion is very popular, so it can help broadcast a message and reach a new generation.”Maria Grazia Chiuri
Markets have been overflowing with masks of peculiar prints, elegant embellishments, spellbinding embroideries, hand-painted designs and so on. Amazingly, the availability of these fashionable face masks isn’t limited. From local bazaars and high-end designers to Instagram stores and e-commerce websites, masks are all over. With the expression ‘stay safe when outside’, many designer houses and apparel stores have been utilizing figurines and covered their mannequins with masks to introduce the new fashion accessory. “It’s a new normal”, said fashion designer Udhay Mahajan, a wedding trousseau specialist. He added that masks matching the attire are in demand. “Besides, the display of masks also makes for an ideal sight even for those who are on a window-shopping spree.”
“Now that masks are an integral part of our lives, they could very well be turned into an accessory“, suggests fashion designer Ritu Kumar. “Having said that, it doesn’t have to be a very simple looking accessory. Therefore, we are creating masks that complement our outfits, with printed fine fabrics which can be mixed and matched with garments in anyone’s closet.” Ritu’s fashion house is at present making not only couture but rather easy-going masks’ with exclusive fabrics. Face masks have diverted into an obsession more than a need.
On the one hand, the bride and the groom are wearing customised designer colour-coordinated masks matching with their outfits, making a fashion statement. Celebrities, on the other side, are setting their own trends. “It goes without saying that masks are going to be around for a long time, so why not make them a desire?” says designer Payal Singhal who has been designing her signature PS printed masks.
Celebrities and influencers have been seen setting amusing mask trends for their audience. Moreover, facemasks denoted its entry in the fashion accessory list when it marked its way to the runways of Milan and the sparkling red-carpet ceremonies of Hollywood. From Billie Eilish and Beyonce to Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, all the stylish stars left no stone unturned when it came to safety and took their stylish approaches to a truly aspirational level by coordinating their facemasks with the red carpet looks in the midst of the pandemic.
Record of the Year winner Billie Eilish stole the show. Wearing a head-to-toe look from Gucci, Eilish wore a vintage-inspired floral mask that matched her outfit. Beyonce’s black mask matching with her mini dress, Styles’ vibrant yellow plaid mask matching with his blazer, Dua Lipa’s metallic silver mask matching with her glamorous Versace dress were among the top discussed looks. The Grammy Award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion sparkled in a stunning orange Dolce & Gabbana gown along with a matching mask. Cardi B, known for her impressive raps, was seen wearing a diamond-encrusted face mask. The credit of black masks being prompted in the market goes to BTS, the K-Pop band generally seen in black face masks.
One famous design studio in Africa started fusing their trademarks on face masks, while a variety of 3D knitwear masks by another Iceland-based designer, Ýrúrarí Jóhannsdóttir, came to the limelight who aimed at empowering self-expression through masks. Another Belgian-based designer, WeWantMore, created a progression of masks from waste shoes which she cleared were not available for sale but acquired considerable recognition. Big fashion houses worldwide are introducing exclusive masks matching their collection, consolidating convenience with aesthetic. Burberry, one of the top luxury brands, has uncovered its own collection of reusable masks in two colours alongside the iconic print found on their trench coats.
While an innumerable variety of masks have been presented worldwide, highlighting both exclusive and local prints, colours, and signature logos, there is no second say that this will remain a trend for quite a while now. Besides, the possibility of a more extensive reach to clients, especially the youth, is expected to multiply. Fashion always finds its way, and people are resolute in looking for approaches to stand out, communicate and flourish in a fashionable environment. Thus, the face mask – once convenient – has advanced drastically fast into something else.