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13 Streetwear Face Masks To Protect Yourself In Style

Stay fresh, stay mask'd up

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Ratboi

Let’s skip the platitudes about “unprecedented times” and get straight to the point: whether we like it or not, face masks are becoming an essential accessory. In New York City, for example, we actually don’t even have much choice in the matter — as Governor Cuomo has now given businesses the right to deny service to customers without face coverings.

 

It’s no surprise that face mask sales have surged since March. According to a market study from Globenewswire.com, “The worldwide face mask market size is expected to record a remuneration of $21,210 million by the end of 2026. The unending use of the product in the medical sector has spurred the industry demand globally. In 2020, the face mask industry size was recorded at $4581.9 million.”  

 

Of course, for economic purposes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a basic blue medical mask from the drug store. But if you want to level up your style game, there’s plenty of outlets offering more sophisticated sartorial choices for the more discerning post-apocalyptic survivors.

 

In fact, GQ notes that the face mask resale industry is currently booming, meaning that the most stylish protective gear is in pretty high demand. Prices are notably steeper on products from designer brands like Bape and Off White, who were making “ornamental” masks before the COVID plague descended upon us: “Daily search volume for face masks has doubled, with a particular spike [on second-hand streetwear seller, Grailed.com] on March 12, the day the NBA suspended its season and Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive for the virus,” writes fashion critic Samuel Hine, who similarly notes that the demand for designer face masks had been widespread in Asia long before the current crisis. Meanwhile, indie designers are creating DIY reproduction of high-end luxury goods with their own skills and sewing machines.

 

As the present takes on the motifs of a cyberpunk dystopia, the face mask is the perfect outfit accouterment for this epoch. Aside from the longstanding cultural trope of purposefully concealed identity and its relation to fighting injustice (as realized through the ubiquity of superheroes in contemporary culture), research has shown that cleverly designed masks can actually undermine government attempts at panoptic surveillance. That means you can avoid both detection and catching the disease while you’re out demonstrating against oppressive authority! On the other hand, will designer masks become the newest symbol of high-status in this hyper-capitalist world? And how will the changing of seasons impact the designs?

 

Now, we’re here to help you out with a rundown of the most stylish face masks we could find. Check out our list, below!

1. Mishka Neighborhood Sniper Face Mask, $12

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Mishka NYC

We’ve sung the praises of Mishka’s edgy and anime-inspired streetwear collections before, but this provocative “Neighborhood Sniper” mask will certainly appeal to the more gothic adherents of this iconic brand. The statement’s certainly a bit morbid, especially considering the political climate, but it certainly makes a bold announcement for an affordable price. The fabric is cotton, meaning it’s breathable, and a portion of the profits made from this product go towards Food On Foot, an organization that helps the homeless in Los Angeles.

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2. Marketplace GRIMM Face Mask via Bdga, $22

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Bdga

The Boston-based streetwear curators are defying their hometown’s reputation for bad fashion with this impeccably minimalist face mask. The pleated geometric pattern is understated and easy to match with any outfit — the long ties offer a slightly different shape than the average, cheaper mask and are adjustable to fit different head sizes. Coming in “mushroom” or “curry” colorways, a portion of the proceeds from these locally made garments are being directed towards the American Red Cross.

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3. The Hideout Kouzhao OG Logo Facemask, $20

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The Hideout

Based out of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hideout takes inspiration from Caribbean aesthetics, bringing a sophisticated modernity to each product. This polyester mask is both understated and arrogant at the same time: the laurel logo seems borrowed from British mod culture, but cleverly re-contextualized as something more subversive.

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4. Reason Exclusive Face Mask, $15

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Reason

This post-vaporwave Mona Lisa design subtly introduces surreality into an outfit. It’s a strong, and strange statement piece but be careful when pairing this with more outlandish outwear — could be a bit overwhelming. Bringing high art to this lowbrow world.

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5. Grand Theft Market Feelings Face Mask, $25

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Grand Theft Market

The smiley-face motif experienced a surge of popularity in the late 1990s, representing a kind of stoned faux-happiness amidst cultural ennui. Its resurrection as a symbol of political discontent was pretty inevitable — presciently predicted by Alan Moore in Watchmen. On Grand Theft Market’s “Feelings” mask, the symbol takes on a more sinister tone as it psychedelically melts into something much more ominous. The design is screen printed on cotton.

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6. Fashion Nova Checker Face Mask, $5

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Fashion Nova

Within the past five years, checkerboard has become synonymous with streetwear sensibilities, at first associated with skate culture by way of Vans. The iconic Fashion Nova label has taken up the motif as of late, making checkerboard even more ubiquitous than it once had been in urban areas. Nothing too fancy here, but certainly eye-catching. Don’t get too matchy-matchy by pairing this with shoes of the same pattern.

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7. Black Scale Loyalty Face Mask, $16

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Black Scale

Hail Satan! Black Scale’s minimalist goth designs are more subtle than your average gloomy couture. Featuring the Baphomet sigil, which has slithered its way into skateboard iconography via Thrasher, this mask lets your fellow creatures of the night know whose side you’re on. Proceeds from sales of this mask will go towards “charities that will assist in medical services and relief supplies.”

8. Profound Floral Painting Face Mask, $25

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Profound Co.

GQ, High Snobeity, Esquire, and Vogue, all sang the praises of Faraz Zaidi’s Profound Co.’s impeccably crafted face masks. The floral painting design provides a perfectly soothing, ironic juxtaposition to the tumult of this current moment. “Partial proceeds from the purchase of each cotton mask are being donated to [the] International Refugee Committee, an organization aiding refugee families displaced from their homes and those living in overpopulated areas that have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Profound is also providing funds to organizations that provide N95 masks to healthcare [workers] in the New York/New Jersey area,” according to Complex. The brand also offers patterns in paisley and tie-dye.

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9. Ratboi Reusable Cloth Face Mask With Filter, $22.50

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Ratboi

Not every streetwear brand is embracing minimalism: Ratboi is celebrating Mexican surrealist painter and fashion icon Frida Kahlo with their warmly colored protective gear. There’s no tradeoff between style and smart design here, this mask comes with “a removable nanotechnology filter which should either be replaced or sterilized using a UV light treatment after 10 hours of wear. This filter has a 90% filtration efficiency and can filter 0.6 micrometers. Though not as effective as the recommended N95 which has a 95% filtration efficiency, these filters help keep your masks more effective at filtering particles than the fabric alone.”

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10. Los Angeles Apparel 3-Pack Cotton Mask, $30

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American Apparel

Some people simply prefer function over fashion, and that’s why Los Angeles Apparel has designed the simplest possible option, with a few cheekier patterns (lime green leopard print!) for the more adventurous dresser. Made of French Terry fabric, the production of these adjustable coverings were featured in a New York Times article that discussed the esteemed labor practices of the brand and their efforts to provide masks and gowns for usage in hospitals — free of charge.

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11. Official Capsule Face Mask, $14

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Official Brand

Live your Neo-Tokyo fantasy with this face mask inspired by the iconic imagery of Katsuhiro Otomo’s sci-fi masterpiece, Akira. With roaming factions of rebelling youths causing righteous havoc on the streets, we’ve truly grown into the post-nuclear fantasy presciently predicted by the Japanese artist about three decades ago. Official brings the medical imagery of the comics into a new context with their affordable mask.

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12. Double Crossed Biohazard Mask, $18.95

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Double Crossed

When you want people to stay away and don’t have the patience to be subtle about it anymore, there are few things more direct than marking your face with this dangerous symbol. Usually used to signify radiation, Venus X adopted the biohazard icon for her GHE20G0TH1K parties, turning it into a calling card for youthful resistance and urban subcultures. This particular design comes by way of Double Crossed, a gothic streetwear brand that sells, in their own words, “clothing from hell.”

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13. House of 950 Social Distancing Mask, $20

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Shop House of 950

Let’s get literal! The lowercase text is adorably twee despite the seriousness of the statement it’s making. The LA-based House of 950 is ensuring that each purchase will be matched with a donation of 10 meals to the Feeding America: Hunger Relief Organization.

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