Quarantine Couture

Helping Fashion (and The Environment, Too)

When mask mandates were ordered last year to combat the virus spread, no one really paid attention to what was going on with the environment. And it wasn’t good.

In June 2020, an article in The Guardian raised some concern when it was discovered masks and sanitation products were washing up on British and Hong Kong shores. Around this time, scientists and researchers began to study the full impact of excessive use of plastic on the lagging waste removal. Although the full damage report will probably not occur for awhile, people were (and still are) concerned about our environmental health returning to levels even before the pandemic began.

In response to those problems, some experts mentioned the use of reusable cloth masks could help with these issues. And that is where fashion trends revolving around wearing masks began popping up. One of the first to reign in on designer face masks was New York-based La Ligne (founded by former Vogue editors Valerie Macauley, Meredith Melling, and Molly Howard). Buying products on their online store, a feature was included where a customer could add a free face mask to their order. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian also contributed by making seamless face masks inspired by the shapewear line.

With Reese Witherspoon sharing pleas for wearing face wear and #Masks4All encouraging individuals to make their own when surgical ones are not available, the movement caught like wildfire. Soon, almost everywhere you looked, stores and brands had their own reusable face masks, promoting safety and health of others.

But the biggest moves came from Pinterest and Etsy, who flourished with small businesses flocking to the platform with their own designs, giving their profits a much-needed boost. News outlets like CNBC and websites like Betches came out with lists promoting various local and online companies making their own (and, thankfully, cheaper) versions of their own designer masks. One such business, Stone House Crafts, previously made home decorations and gifts made from wool and created face protection from leftover material. She took up the job after Etsy’s corporation emailed her.

“I’ve sold over 250 in the last three weeks,” said owner Amy Cassel, “My masks cost between $12 and $15.”

Another business, Infusion, made masks composing of three layers made from cotton. Owner Abby Meadows was inspired to take up the job after being seeing creative responses to the pandemic from different communities.

“The sense that we are all in this together, working together, has been so encouraging,” said Meadows.

Whether big or small, these companies have not only saved lives, but local fishponds as well.

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