The first walks in this initial phase of de-climbing, in addition to degreasing the body and relieving confinement, serve to outline a first sketch of what the new normality will be called. A still unknown scenario that normally will have little and will leave behind the emotional greetings among acquaintances who meet by chance incorporating new routines that still result from a science fiction movie. The faces half covered by the masks are the clearest and most explicit symbol of a new reality in which it is not only about protecting yourself for your own safety, but as a gesture of collective solidarity.
The masks are here to stay and while experts say we will wear them for at least a year until a vaccine is developed, fashion analysts wonder if choosing one can become as everyday as buying sunglasses with the intention to filter ultraviolet rays or get a coat to protect yourself from the cold. Does that mean they should become a fashion statement then? Or are they rather a symbol of solidarity and social pact?. They will probably be, or already are.
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Its use is mandatory in public transport and recommended in any crowded space, which is why they are part of a new urban uniform that includes latex gloves and gives bags or pockets the essential functionality of housing a small bottle of hydroalcoholic gel. It seems logical then to spend some effort in choosing a model that not only suits protection needs, but also individual tastes. In addition to differentiating between hygienic, surgical, and highly effective, the former being a mere barrier authorized by the Government in the absence of self-filtering masks, it is worth discerning between the variety of fabric designs that fashion firms are launching. Some serve as an aesthetic cover for sanitary ware, others have the same efficacy as homemade ones (they avoid spreading but do not protect their wearers) and there are even models that include a disposable filter. Going for a patterned face mask, instead of the classic white or blue pharmacy, is not trivial. Perhaps, the more beautiful and appealing they are, the more people will be willing to wear them.
Like any outfit we choose when dressing in the morning, the mask serves as a statement of individuality at a time when facial expression is reduced to the gaze. The masks will fulfill a double function: protection, aimed at safeguarding individuals from the risks of contagion, and projection, aimed at expressing the identity and style of people. It is certain that, by becoming a delineator of our appearance, many people choose to ‘glamorize’ them and adapt them to the story associated with their personality.
Hence, there are already numerous brands and designers aware of this new business opportunity, are launching their own masks. At the beginning of the health crisis, many of them, just as big fashion brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel have done, put their productive capacity at the service of the fight against the pandemic by producing medical equipment at a time when Hospitals did not have the most basic protection. Now, on this de-escalation path, they use the processes they have learned by putting designer masks up for sale.
Need or opportunism?
There has been an increase of almost 40% in the number of face masks offered by fashion companies in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the end of 2019. However, the Conversion of a utilitarian element into an accessory is not without debate and some voices already indicate whether it is lawful for the fashion industry to obtain economic revenue from its sale.
It is hard to avoid the feeling that designers are exploiting the fear born during a pandemic for their own ends (and profits), and that consumers are using a medical necessity.
I can understand that from the outside it seems that the fashion industry is taking advantage of a crisis situation and as creatives I think it is very important that we do not forget that we have a responsibility to society. However, I believe that we cannot be blamed for being inspired by the world around us.
What Lyst Says!
As stated by search data from the fashion portal Lyst, the interest in luxury face protection masks has increased by 496% in the last three months. During the pandemic it has cost more than a thousand in luxury portals, which had to withdraw it after the outrage caused by the wild increase in the price of one from your sellers.