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The many faces of 2021's biggest fashion accessory

Since face masks are the need of the hour, designers are trying their creative best to make them as quirky and stylish as possible

UK's PrettyLittleThing has introduced a body-con dress with an in-built mask. (PrettyLittleThing)

Face masks aren't going away anytime soon. In fact, it's become the essential accessory of this year, and fashion designers and labels are trying their best to give it a stylish touch.

Markets are filled with masks made of satin, silk, cotton, even tweed, to add a bit of flair to consumers' pandemic look. But some brands and labels are taking a more creative route.

UK's PrettyLittleThing, for instance, is offering online a body-con dress with an in-built mask. Featuring black jersey material with long sleeves, a figure-hugging fit and many colour options, the dress can be styled with strappy heels and accessories. The fast fashion outlet recently started selling an oversized hoodie with an in-built mask as well. The brand, however, has clarified that its mask is not a medical-grade one.

The trend extends to face shields too. New York designer Joe Doucet has conceptualized a range of sleek, transparent and futuristic-looking shields, which can be put on like a pair of sunglasses. They come with sun-protection coating and glass lenses for a hassle-free experience. “Covid-19 is understandably going to have a long term effect on how we re-engage with daily activities and the wider world. We all will have to integrate forms of social distancing and PPE into our daily routines,” Doucet said on his social media account.

Closer home, Delhi's brand Araiza is attaching the mask with a range of scarves, stoles and neckties. The cotton-silk fabric and colourful prints aim to offer an ethic look. Founder Yashvardhan Agarwal hopes to “continue the line in future and experiment with different silhouettes.”

Few months ago, Radhakrishnan Sundaram Acharya, a Coimbatore goldsmith, crafted his own mask, using 0.06 mm thin gold and silver threads. The gold mask costs 2.75 lakh and the silver one, 15,000. “I'm aware that a common man cannot afford to wear these masks, but rich people can use them for functions like weddings,” he said.

New York designer Joe Doucet has conceptualized a range of sleek, transparent and futuristic-looking shields, which can be put on like a pair of sunglasses.
New York designer Joe Doucet has conceptualized a range of sleek, transparent and futuristic-looking shields, which can be put on like a pair of sunglasses. (Joe Doucet)

Although most of the stylised face masks available in the market are not a replacement for medical-grade protective gear, it will be fascinating to watch what the creative developments will finally lead up to.

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