As the number of Coronavirus cases is growing worldwide, people are becoming increasingly concerned about how to protect themselves from getting sick, especially at public events and parties.
Over the past decade, it was not uncommon to see people wearing thin, paper surgical facemasks when in crowded public areas to protect themselves from pollution. Fabric face masks have also been loosely a part of the fashion world for the past few years, as Future, Young Thug, Billie Eilish and many more have been seen wearing designer face masks to compliment their looks. This trend has grown exponentially recently, as the Coronavirus has caused people to become more concerned about protecting themselves from getting sick while wanting to look good at the same time.
During Paris and Milan Fashion week, many showgoers were seen wearing luxury masks and even some designers, such as Merine Serre, featured face masks as accessories in their runway collections.
Realizing the potential of this market, many high-end streetwear brands, namely Palm Angels, Fendi, Bathing Ape, and Off-White, have also been capitalizing on the Coronavirus panic, increasing the prices of their face masks to meet the demand. These masks are simply thin pieces of fabric that cover the mouth and hook around the ears, but people are buying them for anywhere between $100-$400.
Celebrities with huge social media followings, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Bella Hadid, and Selena Gomez have been seen recently wearing masks during fashion week and when traveling internationally, leaving their fans to question whether or not they need to buy one as well.
Although many criticize these luxury brands for profiting off of a deadly disease, others believe this can actually be beneficial in stopping the spread of the disease, as more people will be encouraged to wear trendy face masks as accessories to fit their outfits’ aesthetic. Off-White CEO and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh said “[designing the masks] was a natural evolution, to relate to a new demographic,” clearly noticing an emerging trend between protection and style amongst the younger generation.
Despite the mass craze surrounding this new wellness trend, the CDC and Surgeon General Jerome Adams agree that masks are not an effective means of protecting yourself from getting sick They just help prevent you from spreading germs if you’re already sick. It will be interesting to see whether this trend is short-lived or will grow in popularity as Coronavirus, pollution, and smog continue to worsen around the world.