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Saturday, November 27, 2021

High Fashion Face Masks are Coming

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The luxury fashion houses have finally embraced Covid-19-wear. After a noticeable lack of activity through the spring and summer (on the Covid-wear front), Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Ralph Lauren among others have all announced soon-to-be-released face masks. This development is a major about-face for the fashion industry, after having initially shied away from monetizing the pandemic. That initial apprehension by the big houses created a demand glut in the branded face mask market, which in turn opened the floodgates for imitation merchandise, forgeries, and all manner of unapproved, spurious knock-offs.

Knock off Chanel masks
17 June, 2020. Official record of thousands of counterfeit Chanel face masks seized in New Orleans. Image courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The reluctance of brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton to wade into the Covid-wear marketplace are understandable. On one hand, any attempt to monetize the pain and suffering of millions could be seen as exploitative. On the other hand, any marketing misfire during the early days of Covid-19 could irreparably damage a brand’s carefully curated image. Ironically, by not staking a position earlier, big fashion took a beating (at least aesthetically) by the massive influx of counterfeit face masks.

Now here we are, in September, and luxury fashion is coming to face masks. 

  • Louis Vuitton is releasing a face shield as part of their 2021 Cruise Line, priced at a modest $961. The face shield will be available October 30th.

  • Burberry has reimagined the traditional cloth mask, upgraded with antimicrobial technology and the classic Burberry check. The Burberry mask will run $118 and be available in the near future.
burberry mask 03 1597943524 edited 1

  • Ralph Lauren will be debuting two face mask lines–a traditional cloth mask and a high-performance mask. The Polo masks are coming Fall 2020 and the price is to be announced.
20200714 mask lp fashion c02 video box

  • Lacoste has released a number of affordable face masks. Available today, the masks come in 3-packs and are of the cloth performance variety. A Lacoste face mask 3-pack will set you back a cool $50.
Lacoste Face Mask

Notable fashion houses that have abstained (at least for now) from announcing or releasing consumer face masks include Prada, Gucci, Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Chanel, Versace, and Hermes. It’s also worth noting that while many fashion houses are not making consumer Covid-wear, they are contributing greatly to the fight against Coronavirus. Brands listed above and others have turned their factories into PPE machines and donated millions of masks to frontline workers around the world.

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