Can face masks be fashionable?

Street Style, Isolation Fashion, Face Mask

To take your mind off Covid-19 and bring your attention to a lighter topic. I pose a question to you, can face masks be a stylish addition to your wardrobe?
Shaun James
Read time:
3.40 min

So we are mid (hopefully) pandemic, and while there is some hope in the COVID-19 narrative, we are a long way from a return to 'normal'. Not to mention we still need to consider the massive emotional impact this virus has had on the world as a whole. The situation is very grim and raw, some countries are slowly crawling their way out of the virus crash, while others still have a mammoth task ahead of them. We can all agree this period has been a great equalizer between nations and cultures while highlighting massive gaps in human rights issues in every country.

With all this turbulence and uncertainty in the world, it seems inequitable to scribble down a fun punchy article about fashion styles or an interesting take on social treads. On the other hand, I think we all need a little break from the constant news cycles signalling the end of humanity.

So to take your mind off Covid-19 and bring your attention to a lighter topic. I pose a question to you, can face masks be a stylish addition to your wardrobe?

By the looks of things, face masks may be a new normal, and in a small attempt to deflect the demand from medical grade protection gear we should all be exploring the idea of adding a stylish face mask alternative to our wardrobe.  I'm not stating an alternative to medical face masks will rid the world of direct transmissions, but it may be a polite way to keep your germs to yourself and hands off your face, and if this style adaption is the normal of the future, you don't want to look like a complete psychopath wearing an n95 respirator. Let's leave that for the professionals, literally.

At first, though the answer was no! Like a resounding no, but if we dive into social threads and hunt down some early innovators I might be able to change your mind. It will never be the style statement of the century, but I know the following examples will build a strong case for the affirmative. So take notes as we persuade you to adopt yes to the question, “can face masks be stylish?”

Disclaimer: We are not claiming that wearing a face mask will prevent the spread of disease or transmission. Now that is out of the way, onwards.

Case 1

An artist that has always blown me away with her elegant, yet transformative creative mindset is Sheridan Tjhung. I could even argue she was ahead of the curve, releasing the Diamond Mouth Mask long before it was relatable. This mask has most notably been wear by Billie Eilish and Grimes and has adorned the face of many high profiled celebrates. 

Sheridan Tjhung offers the Diamond Face Veil, or opt for the more ... couch conservative half face mask. Either way, this shit is the definition of top-class fire and the holy grail of stylish face masks. It may lack any actual barrier between your face and the world, but we can let that slide on count of it's a stylish appeal. 

Case 2

Southern Gents x HENRY Mask Co.

If the Diamond Mouth Mask is to editorial for your taste, case 2 will most likely provide you with the evidence you need. Southern Gents styled a magnetic yellow face mask from Henry Mask Co with some epic sartorialist summer + spring vibes. Proving how versatile you can get with a face mask.

HENRY Mask Co offers a range of mask in solid colour and prints, all masks are washable and have a filter pocket. Realistically they have answered the question, yes masks can be stylish with the right approach and product. You can even be rest assured you are not taking a mask out of front line workers hands either, HENRY Mask Co runs on a buy 1, share 1 approach. For every masked sold, one is donated to front line workers or families in need. The perfect recipe if you ask me. 

Case 3

Some very savvy visual artists have even explored the idea of wearable art through the face mask medium. One of our personal favourites at Noisin is Callen Schaub, who has partnered with CALL AND RESPONSE to repurposed his amazing paintwork pieces into 100% cotton satin face marks. It's a small piece of wearable art you can utilise as a statement piece of many outfits, considering Schaub's brilliant colour palette selection in each of his pieces. Also, 10% of proceeds does to COVID-19 relief. 

Supporting cases

While the following cases did not quite make the main cut, we had to include them as further evidence to the style case.

If you were ever stressed about an identity conflict you could have when navigating a masked world, then, Color Trails has the perfect solution. They will print your face on a shirt with a very obvious signal to your true identity. A great match for your face mask of choice. 

Designer Ramiro Gómez is offering a relaxed approach to facemask style, but none the less, preventable wearable. Matching a houndstooth print mask with a casual lounging outfit. Effortless stylish

He has also masterfully repurposed printed scarfs as face guards, a good tip for all the scarf lovers out there.

To Love Jozi, in Johannesburg. Who have adapted their graphic and minimalist aesthetic to mask design. Offering a great selection of face mask designs.

Now for the Instagram credit role of honourable mentions.

Boos Dog Art Dept giving some serious early 2000's grunge style

Mr. Double ЯR pulling off strong street style feels.

Finally The Poof Daddy proving old branded sock can even make a stylish option!

In short, it a big fucking Yes. Face masks can be stylish, with a little thought and research into the right product for your aesthetic. Considering this may be the norm for a while, it's best we all source reusable and fashionable options to the single-use face mask, that are desperately needed for frontline workers across the world. Don’t be greedy and ghoulish at the same time and find your alternatives. Case closed.


Modern Thread

Can face masks be fashionable?

Modern Thread

Can face masks be fashionable?