Thirty-five funky, stylish face masks from Toronto designers

Thirty-five funky, stylish face masks from Toronto designers

There’s a general consensus Torontonians should be wearing protective gear in public places, and face coverings are mandatory on the TTC. But hoarding medical-grade versions isn’t the way to go: homemade cotton blends have proved adequately effective for grocery store missions and LCBO runs. For those who lack the DIY sewing skills, designers around the city have turned their attention toward crafting facial protection in funky prints and in comfortable and luxurious materials. Here, a few virtual destinations for summer’s surprise must-have accessory.

Local artist and designer Nadia Lloyd’s rainbow masks are a favourite of Mayor John Tory, who’s been sporting them around the city since the beginning of June. They’re made of two layers of a cotton-polyester blend, which come from new cushion covers that she uses for her abstract art collections. For each mask sold, Nadia donates another to a front-line worker—an initiative that amounts to nearly 60 donations every week. In addition to the Pride-themed rainbow mask, there’s one featuring the Toronto skyline and another with Canada’s maple leaf. They start at $25 each:

 

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Sustainable Toronto womenswear brand Encircled was founded by a business exec who wanted to help women pack lighter on flights (their first design was one item that could be worn as a dress, a sweater and a scarf). They are also now making face masks from organic cotton and recycled polyester, which come in packs of three for $52. On their site, there’s the option to buy a pack for yourself, or donate one instead. All donations go to the St. James Town Service Providers’ Network:

 

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The Peoples Mask was created by Shanté Renee, a Toronto designer behind the luxury swimwear brand Vanity Couture. Once Covid-19 hit, her studio pivoted from swimsuits to mask production, and she partnered with Edmonton-based Martha Tessema to help with coast-to-coast distribution. Her basic masks sell for $20 each and are made with three layers of protection, including a nano-fabric filter, an anti-bacterial outer layer and a breathable inner lining. There are also a few limited-edition options, including a mask embellished with Swarovski crystals and one that’s themed for Canada Day:

 

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Bohemian Dundas West boutique the Wanderly has teamed up with the Wild Woven Collection, a local brand that makes botanically dyed textile goods. Their new collection of 100-per-cent cotton masks all handmade locally and dyed using the Wild Woven’s natural techniques. For instance, the grey and green masks use marigold, butterfly pea flowers and onion skins. Each mask is $22, and 100 per cent of profits go to the Toronto-based youth-led organization Black Women in Motion:

 

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Horses Atelier, a local label founded by novelists Claudia Dey and Heidi Sopinka, specializes in elevated utilitarian looks and has outfitted many Toronto creatives in their structured jumpsuits. All of their pieces are sewn in Toronto using natural fabric from family-owned mills in Italy and Japan, including their new masks. Each is made from repurposed Horses fabric, consisting of two layers of linen-cotton-polyester blends in metallic blue, copper or zebra prints. They come in packs of three for $50, $21 of which is donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank:

 

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Queen West menswear boutique 18 Waits makes their masks with two layers of the same tightly-woven cotton they use to craft their patterned button-downs. Right now, you can snag pretty paisley prints, neutral stripes or colourful cacti. They’re $28 each, and you purchase a matching shirt to go with.

 

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Hoi Bo, a local clothing and accessories brand, handcrafts their masks in their Toronto studio out of 100 per cent pure linen for a lightweight summery look. They sell for $40 each:

 

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This brand, called Jonny Mask, was started by a local image stylist and wardrobe consultant once the pandemic hit. When he couldn’t find any online, he started sewing masks for himself and his six-year-old daughter, and demand grew after that. Right now, you can score a set of two Superman-themed cotton masks (one for adults, the other for kids) for $40:

 

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Streetwear brand Noir X Apparel has been making snakeskin-printed masks in a variety of colourways. They’re made from vegan leather, and use a special heat treatment to create realistic-looking scales. They’re currently on sale for $38:

 

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Mode Masks is a new branch of bespoke costume and events brand Medusa Entertainment. At the beginning of the pandemic, their sewers donated over $8,000 worth of masks to frontline workers, and they are now selling a variety of made-to-measure masks printed with playful designs like Pride rainbows and glow-in-the-dark stars. Buyers can select their desired sizing at check-out, and prices start at $27:

 

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Local athleisure label Olive and Splash makes their clothing—and now, masks—out of breathable bamboo. They’re great for sensitive skin, and come in pretty shades like lilac and heather. Their latest is also reversible, and sells for $29:

 

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Local evening wear label Narces recently swooped into the mask game, making facial coverings in funky prints and luxe materials like silk, lace, organza and lamé. There’s even a $100 version decked out in gold sequins. For every mask sold on their website, Narces will donate two more to local health care institutions:

 

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Toronto designer Ellie Mae, who has outfitted the Hadid sisters and Shay Mitchell, recently restocked beautifully patterned masks made from deadstock silk and cotton fabrics. All masks are hand-sewn locally, with prices starting at $20 each and a portion of each sale going toward Feed The Front Lines TO:

 

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Rosedale boutique Clementine’s is selling pre-washed, double-layered cotton and linen masks repurposed from materials used in their own collection. They’re $35 each, and come in a range of soft neutral hues. A portion of sales will go to the YWCA Toronto, to help those affected by domestic violence:

 

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Greta Constantine, local makers of gala-worthy gowns and red carpet–ready cocktail dresses, have made a collection of masks from an Italian microfibre knit. The masks come in children’s and adult sizes, with prices starting at $45 each, and can be purchased from retailers like Lac and Co., Andrews, By Tocca, Willabee’s and Maxi Boutique:

 

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Burlington outerwear label Joseph Tassoni has been producing masks since mid-March. They’re from a nylon-spandex blend in stylish shades like metallic rose, slate and forest green. They’re $40 for a pack of three, with $5 from every purchase going to the Joseph Brant hospital. Curbside pickup is available from their Burlington showroom every Sunday:

 

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Tanya Theberge uses repurposed denim to make her couture collections. Her new line of masks stays true to her signature style, made from vintage denim with hand-embroidered details. Prices start at $65, but you can score a matching pink tiger-themed denim jacket and mask combo for a cool $1,580:

 

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Toronto-bred designer Tanya Taylor—a favourite of Michelle Obama and Mindy Kaling—has been making masks for both customers and front-line workers. The company recently distributed 5,000 masks to hospitals in Canada, and partnered with Lyft to distribute around 5,000 more to hospitals and shelters across the States. The brand sells delightfully colourful packs of three on their website for $53 (each sale funds the production of one mask to be donated to a healthcare worker). The flamingo pack is particularly fun for spring:

 

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Downtown vintage store Tribal Rhythm is making triple-layer masks using vintage cotton fabric, and selling them at cost ($15): We love this ’70s floral print:

 

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Beaches juice shop Farmacia is currently selling masks made by the Amish community for $10 each:

 

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Sustainable clothing label Caitlin Power has a collection of futuristic-looking tie-dyed masks made from organic cotton and double-layer bonded Italian fabric. They’re $30 for one or $100 for a pack of four:

 

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Outdoorsy hat maker Tilley crafts their mask from a flexible and durable cotton in neutral palettes. They’re $30 for a pair, and 10 per cent of proceeds go towards Covid-19 relief:

 

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Rustic Rosedale boutique Tuck Shop Trading Co. has come out with $36 masks made from their vintage map–printed swimwear fabric. For each mask sold, $5 will be donated to the Robert Kerr Foundation and Knixwear’s initiative to raise money to purchase PPE for frontline workers:

 

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Moji Mask Canada has hired out-of-work sewers to produce colourful masks in a range of pretty springtime patterns. They’re made from locally sourced materials and hand-crafted in Toronto. Prices start at $17 each, with a portion of proceeds going to #CanadaHelps Covid-19 Healthcare and Hospital Fund.

 

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For an edgier take, local tattoo shop Chronic Ink has created neoprene masks printed with designs from their artists; this one is by Joanna Roman. They’re $20 each (or three for $30), with all profits going toward gloves for front line workers:

 

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Dotty Clothing is repurposing their fabrics to make fun masks in cheerful prints and colours. Shoppers can snag a pack of 10 for $88:

 

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Bold fashion label Hayley Elsaesser has plastered their signature prints onto quilted jersey fabric. They’re $25 each, and 20 per cent of each purchase will be donated to Food Banks Canada Covid Response Fund:

 

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Peace Collective is producing multi-layered cotton face masks in kids’ sizes. They’re $30 for two, and come in red or black. For every purchase, they’ll donate a mask to a front line worker:

 

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Maryam Keyhani, local artist and maker of whimsical headwear, designed this ruffle mask, with half the sales going to support a women’s shelter in Toronto. They’re $95 each, and can be ordered by sending her a DM:

 

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Dani Simmen, designer behind home goods brand Pepper B, has seen an overwhelming response to her $17 printed cotton masks ($5 from which will be donated to support the community). They move fast, so we recommend you act quickly when the masks are re-stocked:

 

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Sustainable accessories brand Handsome and Lace has also turned their attention towards protective gear. With demand for custom wedding pieces slowing down, designer Kiera Morgan decided to transfer her signature quirky style to masks. They’re $35, and buyers can request a custom symbol, image or monogram. Currently, there’s a four-day wait time, plus two days for shipping:

 

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Men’s accessories label Pomp and Ceremony crafted a selection of masks in pretty floral and paisley prints. They’re made with Liberty of London cotton lawn (a smooth tight-weave fabric that’s perfect for both protection and breathability), lined with cotton gauze and have elasticized ear hoops. They’re currently sold out, but will be re-stocking early next week:

 

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Roncesvalles swimwear store Bathing Belle is making $15 masks out of two layers of lycra. Since swimwear demand is down, designer Danica Salajko wanted to find a way to help the community. “I have a sewing machine and a skill, so why not make masks?” she says. She started off donating them to essential workers but had so many clients requesting their own that she’s now selling them on her website. They come in all kinds of funky patterns, and for every purchase the shop will donate another to someone in need:

 

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Sydney’s, a Queen West menswear boutique known for sleek suiting options, is making masks out of a Japanese indigo-dyed chambray cotton. They’re lined in another layer of cotton, with elastic ear loops and an inside pocket to insert a filter. They’re available on their website for $20:

 

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Peach Berserk, a local upcycling and silkscreening studio, has been making tons of bold, hand-painted face masks out of recycled vintage pillowcases. Shoppers can choose their print online (or request a custom design), and each piece is made to order and shipped for free. They’re $20, and the design won’t fade in the wash:

 

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