Singapore—Yes, face masks can be a part of your fashion statement, if not an actual fashionable accessory.
Designer Carol Chen, who ran a local designer gown rental service, made the wise and serendipitous choice of designing fashionable masks just after the pandemic broke out.
And while others spent the last few days before the circuit breaker meeting up with friends, Ms Chen put together a home-based business of making designer masks.
These proved to be a hit for those who needed to coordinate their masks with their outfits, even from as far away as Hollywood.
Ms Chen’s line of masks, called Maskela, has been worn by Sex and the City fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker, up-and-coming Mexican actress Eiza González, as well as Chrishell Stause, one of the stars of Netflix’s Selling Sunset.
“Of all the businesses I’ve built, Maskela was definitely the most difficult to start because of Covid. Everything was shut down, I couldn’t leave my apartment, I couldn’t buy fabrics, I couldn’t find factories, I couldn’t get packaging supplies, and I was literally all alone. Looking back, I still don’t know how I made it all happen during the lockdown, but at least it kept me so busy that I never had the chance to get bored at home!,” Ms Chen told clozette.com last year.
The designer, who was born in the US but lived in Singapore for six years, was recently featured in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), along with her dazzling creations.
Maskela, whose website features the tagline #NotYourAverageMask, carries masks in silk, satin, brocade, and even the lowly cotton. It also offers sequined masks as well as those from “Limited Editions”.
And, yes, there are also masks designed just for brides.
Their prices range from S$20 to S$150, depending on the intricacy and material, and Maskela also offers masks for stylish men and children.
Buyers may also get mask chains so they don’t lose their masks or order an essential-oil-based mask sanitiser.
Better yet, they ship all over the world.
On April 15, three days shy of its first birthday, the company even announced the launching of Maskela masks at famed US designer store Neiman Marcus.
“Honoured to be stocked in America’s #1 luxury retailer and join the ranks of other top brands from around the world!,” announced the company on its Facebook page.
In March, International Women’s Month, the company honoured its founder as well as all its employees, “and all the local seamstresses that make our masks”, all of whom are women.
Ms Chen’s success with her designer masks is by no means her first. SCMP notes that designer dresses from Covetella, her rental company, have been seen on Crazy Rich Asians and Netflix’s Bling Empire.
And while Covetella closed its doors last October, Ms Chen is officially launching her own label later this year, as part of her prize for winning the designer of the year title from the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore.
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