Evolution of the Face Mask

From left to right: Dale Hoffman, Tanner Maccagnone, and Cassidy Rose in a masked rehearsal of Taming of the Shrew.

From left to right: Dale Hoffman, Tanner Maccagnone, and Cassidy Rose in a masked rehearsal of Taming of the Shrew.

Alexa Morse, Opinions-Editorial Editor

As COVID-19 ravaged the world, people had to adjust to a completely different life. One way people had to adjust was in the use of a face mask.

Before 2020, a face mask was not what we think of it today.

In recent years, the face mask was a nice skincare product we’d use when we wanted to feel nice.

However, COVID-19 is not the first time masks have been used to prevent illness. Going back 100 years, the Spanish flu had people wearing similar masks to today.

At the beginning of the pandemic, masks were not abundantly available. Because of this people began making their own. 

Patterns were created and the fabric was becoming a popular item at the stores.

Independently owned shops soon became the central hub for buying reusable masks. Crafters took to Etsy to sell their homemade masks in a myriad of designs.

It was not only Etsy and websites alike that were selling masks. Online retailers, like Old Navy and The Gap, began selling their variety of face coverings. 

As the year progressed and the availability of masks grew, people did what people do best: make the masks fashionable.

By having even more access to a large and diverse selection of masks, people have learned to incorporate them into their outfits. 

It is not only online shops and larger retailers that are selling masks. The higher-end brands have started making their own. Companies like Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry, and Marni have all dived into selling masks.  

Etsy in itself has helped sell over $346 million in masks according to the company’s Q2 reports. Over 4 million people were drawn to the website, and over 112,00 people began selling masks on the platform.

However, not everybody resorts to using reusable masks.  

Disposable masks are another popular choice when it comes to covering the face. Though they are not new in any way, as any doctor’s office or hospital could prove, the use of them is to most people.

Many people have leaned towards using it because they are more accessible. With the world acclimating to the pandemic, many public facilities are now providing disposable masks. 

Unfortunately, there is a downside to disposable masks. These types of masks are composed of not only protective material, but also plastic.

Other medical and sanitary products that are being used, such as surgical gloves and hand sanitizer bottles along with masks, are beginning to take a toll on the environment. 

Over the last year, masks have become a large part of society. These simple little pieces of fabric have evolved into much more personalized objects. 

Although masks and their toll on the environment can seem like a huge inconvenience, people have been able to find hobbies, style, and business through masks.