Face masks are becoming an increasingly familiar sight in Toronto as social distancing measures remain in place.
While wearing a mask likely won’t stop you from contracting coronavirus, according to public health officials at both the federal level and in Toronto, face masks can potentially stop infected people from passing the virus onto others. That move could prove helpful in containing the spread of the virus, given that as many as 25 per cent of people with COVID-19 are projected to be asymptomatic.
Many Toronto designers and artisans – from pros to amateurs – have been pitching in to make face masks for frontline workers. Meanwhile, a number of Toronto manufacturers and clothing brands are making masks available for sale, often on a pay-what-you-can basis or as part of a buy-one, donate-one model.
If you’d like to support a small business while hopefully cutting down on the spread of COVID-19, check out these face masks from Toronto brands.
NOTE: Many brands may be temporarily sold out due to high demand – so if you see a design you like, follow the brand on social media to stay in the loop for when they restock.
This bathing suit company has pivoted to maskmaking during the pandemic. Masks cost $15, are made of two layers of Lycra, and come in a number of quirky patterns. Each purchase funds a donated mask to longterm care homes and essential workers. bathingbelle.com
Toronto designer Caitlin Power’s futuristic-looking neoprene masks include a nose wire and filter pocket. They’re $30, $100 for a four-pack, or free with clothing orders. caitlinpower.com
Damzels In This Dress
Toronto’s No. 1 supply shop for aspiring pinups is using proceeds from their patterned masks to make masks for Michael Garron Hospital’s #MGH1000MASKS and other initiatives for frontline workers. Masks are $20 or two for $36 and include a filter pocket. damzels.com
Fit 2 Fly
Fit 2 Fly, a local business aimed at making stretchy, sparkly gear for circus artists, is making PWYC masks (suggested price $15) in both adult and child sizes. Note: Your fabric will be a surprise. fit2fly.ca
Toronto-based illustrator Taxali has made a few of his designs – including a new Donald Trump-themed drawing – available as balaclava-style masks ($25). (Keep in mind that this style doesn’t allow for filter pockets.) garytaxali.com
Handsome and Lace
The Toronto necktie brand has begun making face masks ($35) in limited runs of 150 per week. They come in five sizes, from kid to XL adult sizes meant to accommodate bulky beards you can also get yours embroidered with a Star Wars stormtrooper, the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt, or a middle finger, among others. handsomeandlace.ca
The designer responsible for some of Toronto’s most iconic prints is now putting them on these $25 quilted-jersey masks. (We’re partial to the “eyegina” print.) Elsaesser is donating 20 per cent of purchases to Food Banks Canada’s COVID response fund. hayleyelsaesser.com
Irish Design House
The Riverside-based shop and sewing school has focused its efforts on making masks from printed cotton in a variety of models, from basic ($10) to fitted ($30). Additionally, maskmaking kits are available for $10 if you’d like to sew your own. theirishdesignhouse.com
IZ Adaptive x Birks
Designer Izzy Camillieri has teamed up with Montreal jewelry brand Birks to make denim masks ($15 or three for $45) in two colours, with elastic that either goes behind the ear or behind the head, in a nod to IZ’s mandate of making clothing for all bodies. For every sale, another mask will be donated to a hospital. izadaptive.com
Mississauga based sports jersey manufacturer Konno is doing inexpensive $12 masks from moisture-wicking, anti-microbial polyester, complete with filter pocket. konnostore.ca
Narces typically makes frothy red-carpet looks beloved by Canadian celebs, but right now they’re focusing on making masks in prints or solids ($30-50) with filter pockets. For every mask sold, two more will be donated to frontline workers. narces.com
Olive and Splash
This indie brand (which, technically, is based in Burlington) makes comfy loungewear staples from bamboo. Their masks, which start at $20, are sized to fit adult or kids and come in a variety of colours. oliveandsplash.com
It was inevitable that the brand that popularized the Home Is Toronto sweatshirt would make a Stay Home Toronto face mask. Peace Collective’s designs are available in packs of two ($30) up to packs of 12 ($140) and come with a disposable filter sheet. peace-collective.com
The iconic Queen West screenprint shop is making pleated face masks ($20) blasted over with a number of their signature patterns, including a portrait of David Bowie, the Rosie the Riveter poster, and one that says “if you’re reading this, you’re too damn close”. You can even get masks made with a custom design. peachberserk.ca
Pomp and Ceremony
This Toronto menswear accessory brand is putting its stacks of Liberty print to use with a number of floral face mask designs. pompandceremony.ca
In addition to making bags from reclaimed materials. designer (and former NOW cover star!) Gillian Hyde is sewing masks on a PWYC basis. In lieu of a wait list Hyde has rolled out a lottery system. piprobins.myshopify.com
Rubies normally makes bespoke bras in the Beaches (say that five times fast) but is currently offering bamboo rayon face masks (two for $30) in a variety of prints. rubiesbras.com
Badu, who was featured in our most recent Black Futures Month issue, has introduced limited-edition masks that include 3M filtering system for every sale, another mask will be donated to Michael Garron Hospital or the Humber River Hospital. The mask is currently sold out keep an eye on social media in case of a restock. @spencerbadu
The Toronto artist and musician is making custom masks ($20) in a number of bold prints order via DM. @sunsunbeats
The sleek menswear store has begun making some minimalist Japanese cotton masks ($20), complete with filter pocket, in black and blue. shopsydneys.com
Normally a tights brand, Threads has gone all-in on producing masks during the pandemic, even launching a separate sister site to handle orders. Their no-frills masks are $16.50 for a pack of two. threadshelps.co
Listen to our NOW What podcast episode Face Masks, Fashion and Safety below: