Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public, everyone wants one. And whipping up a homemade mask isn’t ideal for everyone. So, many designers and crafters have flocked to social media to advertise their masks.
Considering the N95 and surgical face masks are in short supply and most needed by medical professionals, cloth coverings are the way to go for the rest of us. You can make your own with our simple template, or, if you can’t sew and need an easier (and cheaper) solution, the Pennsylvania. Department of Health says that you can use a bandanna or a scarf.
A few things to remember about masks: Clean it after every use, masks don’t replace social distancing, opt for cotton, and make sure you have a good fit — covering your mouth and nose. Following these safety precautions can also be a new form of self-expression and help you feel better about wearing a mask in public.
Here’s where you can get a face mask with flair.
In 2015, Joanne Litz and Dennis Wolkthey opened their first garment store in the heart of Philly’s Fabric District. Now they’re making masks as fast as they can. Litz said the duo is donating all of proceeds from selling masks to Philabundance. They offer a simple black-and-white mask with a paisley print.
Price: $9-$18 (plus shipping); order on their website.
The SEWcial Café
SEWcial Café CEO ChaCha N. Hudson says she’s made about 400 masks since March. With dozens of options, there’s something for everyone.
Price: $10-$20 (plus shipping); order on their website.
Floral-printed masks anyone? East Fall’s Modest Transitions can help. They offer floral and plain options. Their merch is handmade and naturally hand-dyed by Melanie Hasan and her husband in their home studio.
Price: $12 (plus shipping); order on their website.
House of Nambili
For the bold, Brooklyn-based House of Nambili offers handmade masks in a variety of African prints. Their masks are machine-washable and can withstand ironing.
Price: $25 for a set of two (plus shipping); order on their website.
Oxymoron Fashion House
On a typical day, Monica Monique is busy with designing and tailoring prom dresses in her South Street boutique. Recently she’s been toiling away at masks instead. She says her style is glamorous, offering designer prints and rhinestone-embellished masks. “You could wear a suit with these masks and still look good.”
Melissa McGowan is speedy. She says she can make a mask in about an hour. And since early this month, she’s been churning them out. McGowan, owner of Wanderlust Attire, makes her masks from jacquard fabrics and allows customers to choose between a handful of prints and colors. For more subtle colors, customers can opt for a hand-painted design.
Art & Soul Gallery and Boutique
West Philly’s Art & Soul Gallery has been making masks for the past three weeks. They specialize in masks made from African Ankara fabric. “With this new normal, it’s important to show a sense of pride in the form of a mask," said co-owner Tiffany Murphy.
Price: $20 (free shipping); order on Instagram.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, she was a custom designer. Now, Sheena Collier, of Mount Airy, gets about 10 orders a day for her handmade masks. “This is my way to help out during this crisis," Collier said. “And I wouldn’t make anything I wouldn’t wear.”
Price: $18-$22 (free shipping); order on Instagram.