The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for months now recommended that all Americans wear some kind of cloth face covering in public to avoid transmitting the coronavirus to others. More recent studies show that widespread mask-wearing could be the key to preventing more waves of the coronavirus.
The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks in close proximity to others, according to the CDC. The agency offers instructions on how to fashion masks out of household materials like t-shirts, bandanas and coffee filters, even for those without sewing skills.
A World Health Organization-funded analysis published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that without masks, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.4%. That drops to 3.1% with a face covering. This research begs the question: Where do I get a face mask if I’m not a medical worker?
The good news is fashion designers and apparel companies have risen to the occasion and are fabricating masks for general use. The bad news is they’re in such high demand that if you order one now, it could be a few weeks before it arrives at your doorstep. See below for a list of some of the most popular options.
Canvas tote-bag maker Apolis, known for its chic, sustainable market bags, is selling customizable cotton face masks for $19 each. Mask sewers in Mexico receive certified fair wages, and purchases benefit non-profit Baby2Baby, a national network that donates essential goods to children living in poverty. Masks ship in 14 days and are returnable for 30 days.
Banana Republic is selling a microfiber face mask for $20. It features an adjustable wire at the nose for a secure fit. It is machine washable and ships right away.
Birdwell, a California surfwear brand, has pivoted from making board shorts to sewing masks. It’s selling reusable masks made from a stretchy swimwear material for general use, and also donating masks to front-line workers through actor Sean Penn’s non-profit CORE. Masks cost $19.95 and ship within three to five business days.
Classic menswear maker Buck Mason is selling a 5-pack of non-medical, reusable cotton face masks with anti-microbial properties. While its design isn’t a replacement for medical-grade personal protective equipment, the company is donating 100,000 washable masks to essential workers in California.
“The transition from a manufacturing standpoint was quite seamless, as we’re sewing cotton with single-needle stitching, a technique that is very common in apparel production,” Buck Mason co-founder Sasha Koehn told CBS MoneyWatch.
Making masks has also helped the manufacturer keep its workforce employed even as many fashion brands scale back, Koehn said.
Online custom t-shirt maker Custom Ink has recently begun selling cloth masks made from a soft jersey fabric for use by the general public outside of the home. The online retailer is selling 12-piece “family packs” for $30 each and 120-unit packs for $240. Masks come in black and are machine cut from a single piece of fabric. They are estimated to ship on May 18.
Online marketplace Etsy, which features homemade wares from thousands of sellers, said it has seen demand for fabric face coverings spike since the CDC made its recommendation. It has sold hundreds of thousands of masks, with more than 10,000 sellers making a mask sale in the last week, CEO Josh Silverman wrote in a recent blog post. The company is encouraging those who possess the skills and materials to consider creating and selling masks on Etsy.
Family-owned, sustainable surf and lifestyle clothing company Faherty is making soft cloth masks in patterns inspired by indigenous artists. They cost $10 each. The company is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales to UnitedNatives.org. They are machine-washable and can be worn over and over again.
Silicone kitchen tool company GIR, which usually makes spatulas, spoons, straws and baking mats, has added a reusable face mask to its repertoire. The $15 silicone mask comes in seven colors and includes five disposable filters. New orders ship within two to three weeks of their order date.
Felt trivet-maker Graf Lantz is now making two styles of organic cotton face masks — one with ear loops and the other with over-the-head straps — in a variety of earthy tones. A single mask costs $19 and is available for delivery in two weeks. Three packs cost $57.
Hedley & Bennett
Chef wear company Hedley & Bennett has retooled its factory in Vernon, California, to produce masks it designed in tandem with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. It says the items are not FDA-approved and are not substitutes for surgical masks or N95 respirators. But they are suitable for the general public, and cost $22 per mask. Masks now ship within 1-3 days.
Boutique marketplace Jane, known for selling women’s and children’s clothing, is selling washable, adjustable face masks from its thousands of sellers at varying price points.
Womenswear clothing brand Johnny Was, known for its vintage-inspired styles, is repurposing fabric to sell non-medical grade, pleated masks with an interior pocket for a filter. A pack of five masks in floral patterns costs $25. They ship in two to three weeks from the order date.
Fashion brand Kenny Flowers, known for its tropical print bathing suits and shirts, is making non-medical “lifestyle masks” out of unused fabric scraps. They come in whimsical patterns and are machine washable. A two-pack of masks retails for $16, and a three pack sells for $24. They ship within two weeks.
Los Angeles Apparel
Clothing maker Los Angeles Apparel is selling a pack of three cotton face masks for $30 on its website. They are in stock and ready to ship immediately.
Ministry of Supply
MIT-founded apparel brand Ministry of Supply is selling a 3D-printed knit mask, developed alongside medical professionals. The masks are washable and contain a pocket for a filter. Each mask comes with 10 filters and costs $50. Masks ship in three weeks.
Bag maker Rafi Nova is now selling a variety of face-mask styles, including its “Smile Mask,” which features a clear cutout to reveal wearers’ expressions. The masks were originally designed for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The smile mask has tie-back straps and costs $30 for a pack of two.
Rag & Bone
Popular apparel brand Rag & Bone is selling its own non-medical “stealth mask” made in the Garment District of New York and Los Angeles to serve its loyal customers and also keep its business healthy. One mask costs $30, or buy multiple and save $5 per mask. Masks are available for pre-order and are expected to ship by mid-June.
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