Masks work. We know that now. Even ‘back then’… those of us in hard-hit communities did not understand masks to be ineffective. It’s just that there were not enough available. And, of course, healthcare workers needed PPE first (thankfully women-made masks were some of the first available when medical PPE was low). And, let’s face it (no pun intended!), we also needed designers/ manufacturers to hurry up and make masks we could actually wear.
Our team went through many iterations of face covering since March. From bandanas to the first branded masks (Gap, Everlane, Old Navy), the paper variety, gaiters, bandanas and so on. We tested dozens to see what we could endure. And the good news is that masks can be tolerable, if not downright comfortable; and now even fashionable.
Finally, women have a long history of jumping in during times of need. And this time is no exception. While we are so grateful to the female designers selling masks (and thereby making them more acceptable) to all of the women find the opportunity to drive adoption. We also know women have been bearing the brunt of dealing with the pandemic and it’s worth some thought as to why. A great take from Vox.
So with that…here are some ways to stock up on masks and support women-owned businesses at the same time.
Great Prints: Women-Made & Full of Fun
Bright, fun, colorful fabric for masks was always going to be a win-win. Designers of fashion and home decor now have a great way to make use of extra fabric as well (a great sustainability opportunity). And we get a way to add a little fun to our day. The number of printed masks is now a bit overwhelming. But still give thought to what is right for you. Compliance is harder if breathing is compromised. But there are lots of options to buy women-made masks!
Larger women-owned businesses had the advantage of being able to pivot fast and get masks to the general public more quickly. They have also played a part in nudging masks into the mainstream with brand awareness.
If you are a Liberty print fan …then this mask set will win you over! Even better… 25% of the profits go to Direct Relief.org to help equip health professionals in resource-poor communities. So grab a classic and help others.
Who wouldn’t have expected Betsey to be one of the first out the gate with a smile-worthy (you can still ‘smize’!) colorful, cotton masks. They are so pretty you are sure to gather compliments. You can choose from a number of patterns too.
Elegant Masks: From Silk to Damask and Embroidery
Of course it didn’t take long to find a mask for every occasion including more formal, elegant masks. And certainly at all price points too. Vogue has a mighty long list of beautiful masks worth a peruse. I also love the choices on this list from Architectural Digest.
Cynthia Rowley is another titan of women’s fashion that jumped in right away to make masks fashionable, desirable and mainstream. The more variety and cache the better for acceptance.
These beautiful Homesite masks are some of the more popular on the mecca of women-made masks that is Etsy. There hundreds to choose from. And many are getting top marks from media outlets and via consumer reviews.
Lisa Von Tang
This beautiful silk mask is lined with pure Egyptian Cotton and comes in eleven color. And for every luxury mask sold via the site, LVT donates 5 surgical masks to Careforthehomeless.org.
Animal Print: Women-Made Masks Classic
Fans of animal print everything are rolling their eyes at anyone’s surprise at the print’s omnipresence on mask web searches. If you weren’t a fan before — or worried about introducing an animal print into your wardrobe — well a mask might be the right start. Masks can help you feel a little less insecure when trying something new.
Made from 100% cotton this cool mask is lined for comfort and features a hidden soft metal wire that fits comfortably around the nose. And for every face mask purchased, VB donates to JDRF; leading the fight against type one diabetes.
Penny Luna is a bohemian boutique in Los Angeles. And this bold leopard print is just about a cool as they come. We like the bold black edging and sharp design. Feeling like it’s the right mask for a night out! Well, when we can go out again!
The Line Up
The Line Up is a women-owned business started 30 years ago making fitness clothing; and now the business creates gear for a number of different sports worldwide. For every 10 sold for personal use, $10 will go towards masks for essential workers.
Cool Design: Women Know What Works
Finally, leave it to a women to take the mask game one step ahead. From ways to ensure comfort and coverage; to helping those who are deaf or hearing impaired with clear panel masks that allow for lip reading. Hopefully the innovation continues as we live with masks for the foreseeable future.
Baggu was founded in 2007 by Emily Sugihara and her mother Joan. It was a simple idea that launched a big trend. And so it’s no surprise that they are doing their part to make fun, functional and sustainable masks. We LOVE these.
For those who are deaf and hard of hearing masks can make life much more difficult. So masks with a clear panel can be a game changer for those who want to stay safe while also able to read lips. These fun ones are from Zara Creative on Etsy.
All in one tie straps take pressure off the ears and face on these awesome masks. And grabbing a four pack gives you an array of luscious colors too. For every mask purchased, KES will donate one face mask to a healthcare professional.