By Karen Rempel | Fashion Editor
It’s amazing to me how quickly New Yorkers adapt. Masks seemed so alien at first, and now we do our patented one-second glance to diss someone for not wearing one… As we enter Phase Two, masks are as essential as ever in high-traffic areas and situations where we can’t maintain that magical six feet of distance. Not all masks are created equal, but these unique masks are created with love and panache.
Chelsea resident and renowned expert on synesthesia, Patricia Lynne Duffy, has been decorating masks and giving them to front-line workers in gratitude for their risky service. She recalls her initial inspiration. “At the beginning of NYC’s pandemic shut-down, everything seemed so bleak. I wondered what happened to our vibrant city? Instead, we had empty streets with walkers wearing clinical-looking masks. I thought, we need some color to spark things up!” Pat decorated her personal masks with colorful glitter and stick-on jewels. Her playful masks drew positive comments and made people smile, and she decided to keep making more masks. “I was inspired to give the masks to our front-line workers, who were keeping the city alive with their daily work and amazing spirit!”
Another innovative New Yorker, bespoke designer Andrea Thurlow of Engineered by Andrea T, also began by making custom-fitted face masks for her own use. But soon her friends were clamoring for the masks, and Andrea was fashioning made-to-measure face masks for everyone she knew. Now she can hardly keep up with demand. Andrea’s masks are made from 100% cotton and fully lined in 100% silk crepe de chine. The front is reinforced for more protection and structured to sit away from the nose and mouth for a little more comfort. The ear loops are adjustable. The masks are reusable and hand washable.
These masks fit and feel like a dream. After trying other varieties of masks that hurt my ears, slipped down off my nose, or made it hard to breathe, I now breathe a sigh of relief to wear Andrea’s comfortable, gorgeous masks.
As New York enters Phase Two, you might notice that restaurants are branding their masks. Not all custom designs are good ones. My sister Kim told me about a restaurant in BC that made the decision to use clear plastic face masks. Trust me, this was an unfortunate choice!