Floral slip dresses, chunky 'Dad' sandals, bucket hats… face masks? Of all the things to be filling our summer wardrobes, the face mask as fashion accessory is the most unexpected. But, as phase 3 of lockdown gets into full swing and we return to cafes, restaurants, salons and shops, it's more important than ever that we wear face masks to protect those around us. And there's no shortage of colourful masks made in natural breathable fabrics being produced by Irish brands.
Designers and makers around the country began producing face masks while out of regular work and found that demand has surged. Many makers are also donating a percentage of their sales to various charities and aid groups - check out their individual websites for more details.
So while the face mask is a must wear, we might as well have some fun with it. For a jolt of colour, Jennifer Rothwell (jenniferrothwell.com), Helen Steele and Niamh McCabe (nimcake.com) are all producing masks in vibrant prints. For a touch of luxe it has to be a mask by Mairead Whisker or Reuben Avenue, designed by Dubliner Eoin Dillon. Those ready to embrace Y2K style should check out Donegal-based fashion student Mariusz Malon, who is selling matching mask and bucket hat sets via his Depop (depop.com/mariuszmalon).
It is important to remember that while wearing a mask can help stop the spread of Covid-19, these cloth masks are not medical grade. Social distancing and hygiene measures should still be followed. For more information and guidelines for wearing a facemask, visit gov.ie or hpsc.ie.
1. Linen mask, €16, irishlinenhouse.com
2. Printed cotton mask, €25, nataliebcoleman.com
3. Cotton mask, €8.50, etsy.com/uk/shop/FaceMasksbyMiriam
4. Linen mask with velvet trim, €30, dominowhisker.com;
5. Cotton mask, €12, moonmood.ie
6. Silk mask lined with linen, €55, reubenavenue.com
7. Cotton mask, €16.00, gabriellemalonedesign.com
8. Cotton print mask, €16, oliviainstitches.com
9. Linen mask, €10, bebhinn.ie
10. Print mask, €25, helensteele.com
11. Stretch cotton mask, from €4, irishsocksciety.com
12. Cotton masks, from €13 each, faceit.ie