Coronavirus ‘Fashion Masks’ Set to Become ‘Essential’ Pandemic Accessory in UK

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Decorated cloth face coverings inspired by the coronavirus pandemic could become an “essential” fashion accessory, with major British online retailers already selling animal and skeleton print masks.

Britain’s adaptation to life under lockdown has taken a runway turn for the weird, with clothing retailers seeking to corner the market in fashionable face coverings.

While scientists continue to debate the efficacy of home-made cotton masks in reducing the spread of coronavirus, and whether their introduction could speed up the end of lockdown, UK clothing outlet Boohoo is selling fashionable face coverings for men and women.

Boohoo reminds shoppers that “this mask is for accessory purposes only and should not be used as personal protection equipment”, but adds in the product description that you can “add attitude with accessories for those fashion-forward finishing touches. It’s all about accessories for injecting individuality into your look.”

Asos is also selling lavender bandana masks and tiger and leopard print face coverings for women.

Dana Thomas, author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, said that masks are “going to become fashion items”, adding: “We’ll wear them like sunglasses, or T-shirts, or even handbags, and we’ll choose them to make statements.”

Speaking to the i newspaper on Tuesday, retail influencer Andrew Busby said that even if the item becomes a fashion accessory “essential”, consumers should be under no illusion that these face coverings are “useless” at stopping the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.

“Many, if not most, fashion masks are next to useless as they don’t prevent the spread of droplets when we cough because of the nature of the material,” Mr Busby said.

Italian designer Tiziana Scaramuzzo created the ‘trikini’, a bikini with a matching mask, as a joke, but then after posting images of the outfit on social media found herself inundated with orders, according to the BBC.


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Fashion masks useless at preventing the spread of the Chinese virus is just the latest unusual expression of Europe trying to come to terms with the lockdown. In recent weeks, Germany has held drive-in raves to maintain social distancing. The Dutch are eating out — in greenhouses. Italians shop keepers and hairdressers wearing protective visors and taking your temperature on entry has now become the new normal.


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