Before COVID-19 became a household word, wearing a mask was viewed with suspicion, even mockery. Our Asian citizens are no strangers to this accessory and have regularly donned these personal protective pieces for their own peace of mind, usually as a defence against pollution.
Once the deadly pandemic was officially confirmed as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020, the controversy of whether or not masks provided protection was debated fiercely by health authorities and politicians around the globe.
Fast forward to today and masks have been universally accepted as a credible and effective barrier to safeguard oneself and others from contracting the sickness. Regular surgical-style masks were the conventional choice for the public but once the supply ran short people were forced to construct homemade face coverings. Some countries have made it mandatory to wear a face mask when going out into public. This is when the styles became creative and designers got involved.
Basic protection has evolved into a fashion statement. Early adopters wore whatever they could get their hands on. But now the demand has spawned a whole industry online where customers can purchase any colour, style, or pattern imaginable on websites solely dedicated to masks. Fashion experts are already predicting that these accessories will be seen on the runway in the near future.
Additionally, masks have become expressions of political ideology, passions and personality. As one writer stated, “the mask is the new T-shirt.” This visual element may give one a societal (or political) voice even when the mouth has been covered. Now viewed as entirely acceptable apparel, mask-wearing will become as natural as putting on sunglasses. So, go ahead, have some fun while protecting your health. Show off your style and your personality with the world’s newest fashion accessory. You are what you wear!
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