The Mask: how the coronavirus has fostered a new fashion trend

The Mask: how the coronavirus has fostered a new fashion trend

With news of the coronvirus’ impact on the economy, travel and, of course, health, it’s hard to imagine the deadly virus having fostered the start of a new fashion trend – but, that it seemingly has. 

As we speak, the fashion industry, like many others, is taking a considerable hit due to the outbreak. Fashion shows in Asia and Europe are being affected, with Chinese visitors down across the board, and events, such as Seoul fashion week, Georgio Armani’s Milan show, and Beijing fashion week either being cancelled or postponed. And with Chinese spend having accounted for a third of luxury global market sales in 2018, according to Bain & Company, the fall in attendance at the key events will undoubtedly have even further implications for the fashion world in the next few months. 

However, while the doom and gloom of the virus seeps into industries across the board, impacting the economy at a devastating rate, there are a couple of winners at least, with hand sanitizer sales skyrocketing since the outbreak, and Alibaba having reported a surge in spend on cosmetics, including a 150 percent increase on eyeshadow palettes, with lipstick sales up sevenfold for some brands, according to Reuters. Why? Quarantining and extra spare time due to ongoing closure of public events is seemingly giving rise to at-home make-up trials. 

However, the most surprising upshot of the global epidemic is that face masks, in all shapes, sizes, colors and flamboyancy, have seemingly broken the internet. 

With the epidemic showing no signs of abating, surgical face masks are selling like hot cakes across the globe, with consumers falling over themselves to help prevent the spread of the virus, despite their effectiveness being called into question. And while some down sides to the new trend are emerging, with some consumers reportedly feeling no need to apply make-up when covered by a mask, according to Lifestyle Inquirer, which could in turn have repercussions for cosmetics sales, it seems this is definitely the exception, not the rule. In fact, such is the lure of these masks, that the world of fashion and fame is taking notice – with options of all shapes, sizes and styles being the must-have item of the season.  

Indeed, the celebs are already embracing the trend, whether it’s virus-related or not; Cardi B donned an elaborate bejewelled mask to her husband Offset’s fashion show in January while Billie Eilish stepped out in a stylish Gucci option at this year’s Grammy Awards. Likewise, the few fash-pack members that did brave public events to watch the shows were also upping the ante in terms of style, with designer masks the new accessory to coordinate with the latest on-trend ensembles. And the masks have even made it onto the catwalk itself – Marine Serre showcased a slew of face cover-up designs at her Fall 2020 ready-to-wear collection show, although she can’t give the coronavirus credit for this inspired range, with the items billed as ‘anti-pollution’ masks and designed pre COVID-19 outbreak. 

A trend no one could have predicted, the question is, will masks continue to be a fashion staple and stand the test of time post-outbreak? That’s anyone’s guess. For now, I’m off to get my hands on a Resting Risk Face personalised mask – the best and most comical option to date IMO.