● 7th April 2020 – Fashion

While doctors and nurses working on the front-line are fighting for adequate supplies of personal protection equipment, some have taken the opportunity to turn the in-demand item into a fashion trend. 

The face mask isn’t a new accessory. Its fashion origin lies in Japanese street fashion; many people wear the masks after taking inspiration from post-apocalyptic anime storylines – how fitting.

Face masks have now become a norm across the world. Influencers are sharing photos of themselves in surgical masks to their social media. Across YouTube and Instagram beauty influencers are taking part in the controversial ‘COVID-19 makeup challenge’, where tutorials feature bold, colourful eye looks while a surgical mask covers up the lower half of their face.

Though we’ve been told multiple times that face masks will not protect us from the virus, this hasn’t stopped people hoarding or donning the protective equipment. 

Unfortunately, many people across the globe don’t have the luxury of working from home, so are choosing to wear a mask to ease the anxiety of exposing themselves to the virus. Photographer Adam Grey has shared a series of photo’s online documenting New York residents who have been setting the bar in this face mask fashion trend.

Photo: Adam Grey

While those who love high-end fashion are showing it off – some taking the opportunity to try and sell ridiculously priced, emergency kits – luxury fashion brands are doing their bit by lining up to help affected countries in any way they can.

Luxury conglomerate LVMH – the company that owns brands Louis Vuitton, Loro Piana and Christian Dior – announced that it would help produce hand sanitiser to combat the current shortage.

Luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, are preparing to manufacture personal protective masks and have also committed to securing 3 million Chinese made masks for the French health service. China made half of the world’s surgical masks before the coronavirus emerged, they’re now currently manufacturing 200 million face masks a day — more than twenty times the amount it made at the start of February.

New Balance US factories are coordinating with the US government to help provide protective, surgical grade masks for health workers in America.

New Balance US

New Balance US

It doesn’t stop there either, we all know Italy for its fashion houses and more recently how hard-hit it’s been by Covid-19. In response, Gucci has promised to make and donate 1.1 million masks and 55,000 medical overalls to authorities. Prada will be funding two new Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in the Milan hospitals of Sacco, San Raffaele, and Vittore Buzzi. High-end accessories brand Bulgari has donated funds to the research department at the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome and Fendi’s Carla Fendi Foundation also announced a contribution of €100,000 to Rome’s Presidio Sanitario Columbus ICU.

Instead of jumping on this trend — think we’ll just stay inside.

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