To Buy or Not To Buy – Fast Fashion Face Masks

Posted on 24 April 2020
By Dana Andersen
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Discussion as to whether or not face masks actually do anything to prevent you catching Covid-19 has been rife, but that doesn’t stop fashion outlets from seeing an opportunity to make money. Although its thought that masks only currently help if worn by people with the virus, it doesn’t stop places like Boohoo, and Isawitfirst from selling them.

Boohoo is somewhat redeemed with the fact that their masks cost only £5, and 100% of the proceeds are to be donated to the NHS. It is also important to note that they only discontinued a line of these fashion masks, with Corona virus related slogans, after a Nurse complained to mainstream news papers. Isawitfirst is selling their masks, with unfinished edges, for £10, reduced from £20, with the promise that all ‘profits’ will be going to the NHS.

Fashion brand Marine Serre has also been slammed for featuring face masks at their show during Paris Fashion Week, back in February, despite the fact that their collections have featured face masks before the Corona Virus was at all prevalent. At over £200 though, its still not a realistic option for those facing air pollution, despite the ‘future fashion’ aesthetic the brand are reaching for.

Much more dangerous though, are the affordable brands doing it. One could argue they’re trying to help people by making a currently in demand product more obtainable, but outside of Boohoo they’ll also be making an impressive profit due to a pandemic, which has take the lives of thousands of people. Not to mention that these are very much ‘fashion masks’ and do not offer the same protection as PPE.

Surely large companies who have suddenly begun selling face masks are just doing it to make a quick buck out of a bad situation? These companies don’t care about the health of the general public when they’re photoshopping models, using questionable resources to create their clothing, or making clothes which will be quickly ruined only to take hundreds or thousands of years to finally break down. Why would they care about our health just because of a pandemic?

Theres also the question of how much they really help. Medical face masks are created to be a tight fit, the masks sold by fashion brands have been quickly designed, seemingly most focused on making them look good on, and in popular colours. Is the fit of these masks accurate enough to make any kind of difference? Are they made with the appropriate materials, and an appropriate amount to actually provide a barrier?

Smaller companies that have begun the production of face masks, such as, states on the page that their masks are hand made, with ethically sourced materials, made of cotton and are ‘anti-dust, pollution & protective’. All the necessary information is immediately clear, and at the same £10 price tag as Isawitfirst’s reduced mask, its a clear winner. We’ve reached a point where low quality, fast fashion products are barely cheaper than good quality, independently made items, so do we really still need to buying from these unethical companies?

If you want a face mask, you’re much more likely to be purchasing a high quality, well made mask, from a small shop or brand. They’re more likely to provide you with information on how the mask is made, what it can protect from, and you’ll be providing money to someone who has likely been financially impacted by the pandemic in a much more severe way than any fast fashion or designer brand.

With some places now making masks compulsory, and most of us at least feeling safer wearing them, its great that they’re easily obtainable. But if fashion masks are not suitable to protect NHS workers, how are they going to protect the average person? At least those made by individual makers provide you with information on the mask you’re buying, you can do your own research to see how much it’ll protect you.