Social distancing, but make it fashion: face masks as the fashion statement of 2020

08 Dec 2020
Door Modefabriek

On 1 December, face masks became compulsory in all indoor public spaces in the Netherlands. Having moved from the sidelines, masks are now ubiquitous, adding an aesthetic dimension to their medical repertoire. Face masks have therefore become the latest fashion accessory to allow you to make an individual fashion statement. Fashion houses are capitalising on the trend and designing the most outrageous face masks: no matter the style or outfit, there’s a mask out there to match. 

Fashion statement 

Since the pandemic made its unwelcome entrance earlier this year, face masks have become commonplace all around us. However, somewhat remarkably, they were actually being spotted on the catwalks of various international fashion houses pre-coronavirus. Innovative label Marine Serre, for one, had her models strut onto the catwalk in face masks back in her Autumn/Winter 2019 show, and popular label Off-White introduced masks to a number of collections. Equally striking was the appearance of face masks during major events held shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic. Gucci, for example, used a custom mask to complete Billie Eilish’s look during the Grammys last January. 


Face masks have now secured their place in every wardrobe, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the fashion industry. During an almost fully virtual fashion month, masks appeared in various collections as a fully-fledged part of the accessory line, and as a fresh means of expressing personal style. 

Face masks: the ‘compulsory’ accessory 

In contrast to most major trends, the popularity of face masks was born out of necessity and the care for those around us. The standard blue disposable face mask stopped ruling the roost a while back; people are choosing designs that reflect their personality, and are an extension of their identity. Both in terms of the statutory obligation and of making a fashion statement, masks are increasingly becoming a must-have accessory. 


In recent months, fashion houses have accordingly given the ‘garments’ a stylish upgrade, adding sparkly details, striking prints and chain accessories. Brands like 8 Other Reasons are offering smart mask chains in their large range of colourful face masks, and Barts is using the tie-dye technique for their designs. Dayz’ face masks are available in whatever animal print you wish for, and labels like Pom and A Fish Named Fred are creating masks in matching prints from their own collections, so that they complement their other designs. Now that face masks are compulsory, the item is an inevitable part of your daily look. Fashion labels are giving shoppers the chance to choose their mask with the same precision and attention to detail as with their favourite fashion items; social distancing, but make it fashion.

Written by Lara Oliveri

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