PPE With Panache
The global fashion industry has pivoted to meet the growing demand for effective, comfortable and yes, stylish, consumer-grade face masks for daily wear. Luxury, high-end brands such as Christian Siriano, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci and many more have taken up the mantle of providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for consumers, essential employees and healthcare professionals to varying degrees. In New York, Christian Siriano answered the call from Governor Cuomo and had his staff start producing masks to help flatten the sharp upward curve in Manhattan. Louis Vuitton, for its part, started designing and producing masks and gowns for Parisian hospital workers while the factory that manufactures perfumes for Christian Dior switched to making hand sanitizer. Gucci ramped up their production of masks as Italy’s Covid-19 cases increased, with the company donating over 1 million masks and medical overalls to the front lines in that country.
Here in northeast Indiana, our own local fashion houses leveraged their connections and resources. Vera Bradley made non-medical, cotton masks available, using their iconic prints, along with replaceable mask filters, sold in packs of two. The company’s supply was sold out at time of printing, but they plan to restock quickly. Cinda B started making masks, sold in five packs, in a variety of their prints and colors, now sold out while the Fort Wayne manufacturing facility catches up with demand. Matilda Jane donated 5,000 masks to Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in Pennsylvania, offered DIY mask kits to their trunk keepers across the country, and also put masks up for sale on their consumer website (not currently available). Vera Bradley, 260.434.1900, verabradley.com, Cinda B, 877.692.4632, cindab.com, Matilda Jane, 260.424.3511, matildajaneclothing.com
As we transition to this new normal of wearing masks in public, the styles available to consumers are growing, with more and more fashion brands offering their own take on this new wardrobe essential. Effective, comfortable and attractive masks now abound (some with a waitlist), and it’s important to note that each person, both adult and child alike, should have multiple options since the masks need to be washed or sanitized in some way after each use. National brands like H&M, GAP, Good American, Baggu and Sanctuary (and so many more) are selling their own versions, while smaller, more niche brands like Katie May, a bridal designer, sells sequin and lace styles.
Local boutiques are in on the action, too. Jophiel began making and selling masks, with multiple restocks each week. The FIND is selling masks by Coin 1804, and has donated masks to local charitable organizations. Both The FIND and Fancy & Staple carry stylish cotton bandanas by indie brand Hemlock Goods, the owner of which provided Instagram followers with a DIY, no-sew mask tutorial. Jophiel, 6410 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.436.8338, jophiel.com, The FIND,
133 W. Wayne Street, 260.203.3498, thefindfw.com, Fancy & Staple, 1111 Broadway, 260.422.2710, shopfancyandstaplefw.com
Pinspired Marketplace in Leo has also stepped up to provide masks for the general public, offering them free of charge (one per person in each household), at the shop. (Orders of 10 masks or more are $4 per mask.) Kathy Boles, who co-owns the shop with Stephani Hartzell suggests those interested in acquiring masks should send a message through the shop’s Facebook page or email at email@example.com. 14927 ½ Center Street, Leo, 260.435.0062, pinspiredmarketplace.com
As weird as this all may be, wearing a mask is a vital part of battling this pandemic – it has become a sign of respect for fellow humans while out and about, so you might as well look good while doing good.