Anyone who read Martin Dunphy’s COVID-19 cover story (on pages 6 and 7 of the print edition) now knows that masks are an essential fashion accessory in the COVID era. Not only can they spruce up your look, they can also save your life, as well as those of your loved ones.
Anyone with a brain should also know by now that they’re needed when going to grocery stores and the local Shoppers Drug Mart. But people often overlook the need for masks when they’re in crowded outdoor spaces. Anyone who has walked along West 4th Avenue, Davie Street, or Commercial Drive in recent weeks has likely seen hordes of pedestrians. And they don’t always stay two metres apart from one another, in part because of all those new restaurant patios.
So do your neighbours and health-care workers a favour. Cover your nose and mouth whenever you’re in a crowd, indoors or outdoors.
But where to begin? This week, as part of our effort to get people to mask up on the public-transit system, in movie theatres, and on busy and narrow sidewalks, we’ve prepared a list of mask retailers.
1648 Duranleau Street, Granville Island
MAKE Vancouver is a one-stop shop for the entire family. The store offers masks for adults and kids. With colourful and quirky designs, wearing a face covering makes for a fun experience. Shoppers can also design their own wear, with the store’s custom printing service. It offers a 100 percent polyester mask that is fully customizable. One can use original art or choose from the store’s library of images. For every purchase of a mask, MAKE Vancouver donates one to the KidSafe Project Society.
GRANDI believes that women can still look fabulous with a mask on. As the Vancouver maker of luxury women’s wear declares: “Be stylin’ even with a face mask.” The boutique shop was started in 2014 by a dressmaker who simply goes by the name of Grandy. The atelier retooled in response to COVID-19 to meet the demand for face masks. Its playful designs include many featuring fulsome lips. The masks are washable and reusable.
AW by Andrea Wong
AW face masks are made from 100 percent cotton and designed with a liner pocket for removable filters. Adjustable straps are made from a technical fabric for best comfort and fit. AW by Andrea Wong is a Vancouver maker of fashion accessories, ranging from bags to backpacks and clutches. Masks can be picked up at its Chinatown location. The company offers half-price for masks intended for donations.
104–358 East Kent Avenue South
The custom clothing-printing company started producing masks after receiving several requests. For this additional product line, Coastal Reign uses its design expertise and advance printing technology. Choices include a full-colour twill mask that is suitable for retail environments. Another item is an athletic microfibre mask that is more breathable and allows for increased airflow during exercise. Also available is a mask that repels water or rain. There are mask sizes for adults and youth.
Vancouver-based Stephanie Schneider started her clothing line in 2006 with a focus on handmade, waxed cotton rainwear. She chose the name of her company after the Russian word that means “openness”. Her masks are 100 percent cotton. Lightweight for breathability, these also feature adjustable elastic bands for custom fit. Masks include optional filter and nose wire pocket. Shoppers have a choice of watercolour-painted face coverings. Colours also include black, mushroom, and lilac, and there’s a two-tone mask of black and white. Schneider donates a dollar from every order to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
La Movida Fashion Design Academy
3625 West Broadway
This shop is selling colourful handmade cotton masks in adult and youth sizes, which include a nonwoven sewn-in filter top to reduce the penetration of moisture. The unique nose piece can be put through the washing machine without any damage to the fabric. They come with elastic straps, which can be replaced with shoelaces for those who prefer that method to keep the mask snug on the face.
Pretty Wings Masks
Winnie Tan’s Pretty Wings Masks offers a variety of fabric designs. The Tri-Cities–based company also does custom log and personalized designs. Shoppers have a choice of five mask patterns: pleated, single-pleated, 3-D with custom logo, clamshell, and fitted neoprene or synthetic rubber. There are various colours to choose from. Shipping time ranges from three to five days.
1015–11111 Twigg Place, Richmond
Before the pandemic, Blackwood Apparel was producing aprons, chef jackets, and kitchen staff uniforms for the restaurant business. With COVID-19, the company has added a new product: washable and reusable face masks. The face coverings are made of 100 percent cotton. Blackwood has more than 25 years in the apparel business.