Since late January, most of us have become used to the cautions this pandemic requires, and rightly so. We’re accustomed to the constant stinging smell of sanitizer. Our shirts are a bit stretched from opening door handles. We’ve even formulated our own versions of stink eye to silently communicate: “back up six feet.”
However, out of all these necessary small changes keeping cases low, the most prevalent and obvious is the use of masks. They’re often uncomfortable, sweaty, cause bad breath, hard to talk with, and if you have glasses they fog up, but above all else masks are imperative in curbing the spread of Covid-19. Masks are a necessary pain, a required discomfort, yet as many sanitary fashionistas are illustrating across campus, the country, and the world, masks don’t have to be boring. Masks can be fashionable.
“If there is a whole pandemic might as well make it fun by wearing a cute mask,” said Maryville College junior Mattie Wheeler.
This sentiment, and others like it, are extremely important because instead of viewing mask wearing as a chore, mask wearing becomes another outlet of fashionable artistic expression. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, our innate human desire to beautify our surroundings and change circumstances subverts the dreary struggles of quarantine.
There are many options when it comes to mask fashion. From masks with abstract designs, to masks with logos, to masks that look like mouths or dog snouts, the opportunities for expression are nearly endless and even sentimental.
“My favorite mask has a green and lavender floral pattern,” said Maryville College senior Elea Forester. “My grandmother made it for me. When I wear it, it reminds me of her.”
Masks are becoming functional art, and art is one aspect of human experience that unifies, that cannot be stomped out by a disease. A cute, stylish face mask design is more than just aesthetically pleasing it is rebellion. It is resolution against dire circumstance to quite literally put on a happy face.
As we progress into this pandemic and hopefully beat on towards a semblance of normalcy, we will need the functional optimistic expressionism of “mask fashion.” Mask up, the sidewalk is your runway.