Almost from the get-go, when face masks became a weapon in the fight against COVID-19, designers across the country and here in Houston have been joining in the production. With the CDC now strongly recommending that everyone wear face masks and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo making that a requirement in the Houston area beginning on Monday, the rush is on to be mask-ready.
Fashion brands and Houston talents are coming to the rescue, many with a charitable component. Early on, a number of national design houses joined Dallas-based designer Jean Lui in creating attractive non-medical-grade face masks. In Houston, fashion designers David Peck, Chloe Dao, and Danny Nguyen were early to the sewing table. Others have joined in the production.
As the necessity of masks becomes the norm, creative talents are expanding the esthetic appeal of the all-important stay-safe accessory. Forget the bandanas. Why not think fashion along with safety.
These are some of the Houston outlets doing masks with style:
Upper Kirby Consignment
This high-style twist on the fashionable face mask takes your designer-shoe dust bags and transforms them into logo fashion history. The $18 fee covers the cost of the seamstress, and a portion of proceeds will go to the Houston Food Bank.
Project Runway winner Chloe Dao is creating a variety of face masks, priced $12 to $18, some pleated, some not, each with a filter pocket for added protection.
The Houston design firm began producing masks for healthcare workers and first responders almost immediately when the shortage of masks was noted. David Peck‘s firm has donated thousands of masks and is now selling to the public in a Buy One, Give One program.
For each individual purchase, a mask goes to a front-line warrior in the battle against coronavirus. The masks, in fresh and fashionable fabrics, sell for $25 and come in adult and child sizes. They’re designed to fit over an existing #N95 mask to help prolong the use.
Creativity is Debra Linse’s middle name so who would expect less of her than a collection of the most spirit-lifting, light-hearted masks. These are made from her collection of fashion fabrics in sateen and 100 percent cotton.
“I started making masks for a few friends that are nurses and also volunteered my sewing skills to make masks for Masks of Hope,” Linse tells PaperCity.
The whimsical masks are priced at $20 each, $18 each for an order of two or more, first-class postage included, if not delivered. Masks can be ordered on Debra Linse’s Facebook page.
This wildly popular website for adorable children’s clothing has joined the sewing circle with precious masks for both children and adults. As the website notes, “Made locally in Houston, TX. By purchasing Cuteheads masks, you are ensuring the employment of fellow Houstonians.”
The masks, priced at $10 each, range in size from small to medium to large to adult. Fabric patterns include soccer balls, red and blue seersucker, spring floral, and more.
Onyii & Co. was founded in 2013 by Onyii Brown, a wife and mother of three based in Houston. The brand has been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Martha Stewart’s American Made, PBS startup USA, and more as it focuses on producing garments that blend African influences with contemporary context. Its face masks are no exception, with bold fabrics that can brighten any mood. The masks are priced at $15 and come in a variety of bold and exciting fabrics.
The local design concern began by making non-woven polypropylene face masks to donate gratis to medical and essential-needs workers. As the need for everyone to wear masks grew, the company beefed up production. Cost of the $12 masks helps with the ongoing cost of making and distributing service masks.
Important to note: The most protective masks are three-ply, consisting of one layer of 100 percent cotton, one layer of non-woven polypropylene for filtration, and one cotton-blend layer, typically made of interesting fabrics in order to put the fun in function.
This highly efficient mask isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but it could be just what the doctor ordered. The high-style designer, specializing in the most elegant of clothing, has temporarily closed his design business and is concentrating on coronavirus masks.
These masks are constructed of water-resistant, non-woven polymer and melt-blown fabrication lined with cotton blends for moisture absorption. They are dubbed “595 mask respirators.” The masks are priced at $9 each, and with each purchase of 20 masks, five will be donated to places where most needed.
For the hipster in your soul, Atalantude has its own extra-thick masks for what might mean extra protection. But, as the website notes, “These masks have been built with fashion in mind.”
Founder Alan Gonzalez graduated from HSVPA and Houston Community College in fashion design. His portfolio includes custom designs as well as forward fashions for both men and women. His Creating Space collection of masks quickly sold out, but new designs are popping up on his website regularly. One hundred percent of mask proceeds are being donated to Meals on Wheels.