Masks have become the unexpected must-have fashion accessory for 2020. Some people may grumble about wearing facial coverings, but we’re doing it to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Currently, the Canadian government recommends donning a mask whenever you cannot safely distance from others, particularly indoors or in crowded areas.
Most Canadians have never worn medical or fabric masks in their day-to-day life. However, as a travel blogger who spends a significant amount of time in Japan, I’m accustomed to the culture of wearing a mask while taking public transportation, or whenever I feel a cold coming on. In addition, I’ve identified as Goth since I was a teen, so I have many friends who wear futuristic masks to nightclubs, as a dark fashion choice.
Since some people seem to be struggling with wearing masks, I turned to my creative friends around the world for tips on how to look fashionable in them. From devil-shaped coverings to Hello Kitty face shields, here’s how seven fashionistas are keeping safe while staying true to their personal style. I hope their photos convince you that masks can be comfortable and chic, and inspire you to rock one too.
La Carmina – Vancouver, British Columbia
It appears we’ll be wearing masks for a long time, so we might as well invest in one that fits our aesthetic. As a Goth fashion blogger, I was delighted to find an apocalyptic face mask from Lip Service. The black stretchy fabric is covered in skulls and daggers, adding a subtle edge to my outfits. Now, rather than feeling burdened by masks, I get excited about wearing them. You see more of my Gothic clothing coordinates on my La Carmina blog and @lacarmina Instagram.
Josie Stevens – Los Angeles, California
Perhaps you might recognize Josie Stevens from her reality TV show “Married to Rock,” which featured her and her guitarist husband Steve. Josie is also a stylist and designer, and when the pandemic began, she was inspired to create a collection of custom masks. Josie’s mask offers an enormous selection of cute-meets-naughty styles, in three sizes to fit any face. On her Instagram @josiestevens, she reveals how she pairs her masks with a variety of outfits, from a pink floral mini-dress to a baby blue boudoir robe.
Yukiro Dravarious – Tokyo, Japan
Leave it to a drag queen to show us how to “work” a mask. Yukiro Dravarious recently sashayed across the stage in a fuzzy horned mask and red ballgown while performing a physically distanced show as Gothic diva Die Schwarze Frau. In addition to wearing the cute-faced devil mask, he accessorized like a glamour queen with a fascinator and pearl necklace. Find more of Yukiro’s modeling, B-movie directing, music group Denanoma, and other acts of decadence on @dravarious Instagram.
Aurelio Voltaire – New York City
Dare to enter the lair of Aurelio Voltaire. This Cuban-American cabaret artist and internationally touring musician is best known for his spooky-yet-upbeat songs. He’s also the creator and host of the popular Gothic Homemaking web show, where he imparts macabre home decor ideas. Aurelio Voltaire’s purple bat mask and gloves were made with the same print found in his spooky interior decor line. He’s living proof that you can match your mask not only with your wardrobe, but also with your furnishings.
Mim Midori Lai – Hong Kong
(PHOTO: of Mim Midori Lai. Credit: Ken Ho, @goodtimetraveler66 Instagram)
Hong Kong is a city bursting with fashionable folk, but Mim Midori Lai stands out thanks to her devilish sci-fi styling. Midori models a mask by @kuroha002 that pulls out all the Gothic stops: the design incorporates black lace, silver piercings, and spiky bird heads. Her red leather gloves by @alanrever add deadliness to the look. Midori is a fashion and graphic designer who will soon show us more of her custom clothing and accessories @madhouselabstore.
Taeden Hall – Toronto, Ontario
Designer/artist Taeden Hall runs Gloomth & the Cult of Melancholy, an independent fashion label that combines historical fashion with subculture and street wear. Taeden describes Gloomth as “a love letter to the misfits among misfits, for those who don’t fit in and don’t want to.” For her medical masks, Taeden drew a nurse in a frilly dress and bloody eyepatch. She’s holding a doll head in her arms, and is surrounded by bunnies, needles, and lollipops. All of Gloomth’s designs are gender- and-size inclusive (from small to 5XL) as seen on her model Azura Rose, who wears a matching mask and leggings.
Stephanie Yanez – Los Angeles, California
Anime/J-pop musician Stephane Yanez is the picture of positivity, and she has the outfits to match. You can’t help but smile at her pink masks dotted with cute characters, and her Hello Kitty-shaped face shield by MacyMarie. Stephanie’s English and Japanese songs are just as upbeat; you can hear them on her Spotify page . The lyrics of “You Are Not Alone” especially resonate with these times. “I wrote the song at the beginning of this year,” she says. “It’s almost like I knew what was to come.” See more of Stephanie’s “kawaii” cute modeling and music on her Instagram@stephachu. •