The best cloth face masks to stockpile

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Face masks are the hottest new accessory this year. Now that the CDC recommends cloth masks to lower the spread of Covid-19 and face coverings have become required wearing in high transmission areas like New York, designers all over Brooklyn have stepped up to meet the demand. For brands that usually produce original housewares, t-shirts, and handbags, face coverings are a simple pivot, and more stylish than your average DIY mask. With so many different options, you can use your locally made mask to showcase your personality, your taste, or your love for a brand. And in some cases, companies are donating the proceeds of their mask sales to worthy groups, making your purchase charitable, too. Just wash them regularly as you would your own clothes (they become pretty gnarly anyway after extended use) and if they include a pocket for a disposable filter, you can use a coffee filter or paper towel for extra protection. Most of these are thick enough to double as a sleep mask if you have trouble sleeping in or taking a nap—another mask hack you can use right now. The new normal is weird, but it’s here to stay, so stock up!

Grand Banks/Pilot

If you refuse to believe that summer is canceled, you may be interested in the quintessential sailing mask. Created by the restaurant owners of NYC’s favorite boat bars, Grand Banks and Pilot, their mask gives off serious nautical vibes. It’s also quite friendly. A portion of the proceeds is being donated to MedShare, a non-profit that redistributes medical supplies and equipment to needy hospitals. These are made out of 2-ply polyester with elastic loops. Ahoy Mask $12

Eskayel

Eskayel, a textile design studio based in Williamsburg, is putting their ethereal watercolor prints on masks that double tie in the back. Plus, it comes in a five-pack, which will help you cut down on washing time. Each purchase helps raise money for Direct Relief, an organization helping healthcare workers on the frontlines during COVID-19 by providing protective equipment. So far, they have raised over $2500. Right now, you can order the masks directly through their factory to be shipped within six business days. Set of Five Protective Masks $37

Aloha Picnic

You won’t find masks on the Aloha Picnic site, where they sell beautiful, casual linen and cotton clothes by Brooklyn designer Akiko Matsuura. But on their Instagram the company showcases their custom silkscreened masks in quirky prints that you can order by DM’ing them. There are simple dots and sparkles, and kid-friendly designs like robot and cat faces as well as the snout of a Marukuma, a Japanese stuffed bear. The masks come in adult and child sizes, are $18 each including shipping, and made of cotton double gauze or a linen-cotton blend. You can request ties around the head instead of ears when you order. Aloha Picnic Mask $18 

Minna

Minna is a woman and queer-owned company in Hudson, NY. It also is one of the premier places for Brooklyn trendsetters to purchase pillows and throws. Now they have partnered with artisans in Mitla, Mexico to use production waste to create masks. For every mask purchased, they will donate a mask to an organization in need. Minna Mask $15

Next of Kim

Kim Hill, one of the founding members of the Black Eyed Peas, owns a store, Radical Women in Bed-Stuy, designs a line of body/ skincare,  apparel, and accessories under her Next of Kim line that celebrates inner beauty and style. Her face masks are made from bright African fabrics in more than a dozen colorways to choose from: Ice Cream Love, Raspberry Beret, Harriet, Ms. Pacman, and more. It would be hard to decide on just one. They also come in a variety of sizes with adjustable elastic straps. The best part is they have an inner pocket where you can put a disposable filter (not included). She has a video on her site explaining how this works—and she uses a pet pad cut to size and just fits it in the pocket, for extra filtration, but has other suggestions for things you may already have at home, like a coffee filter. The turnaround is 7-21 calendar days (not business days). Warrior Pleated Washable Face Mask $12

Stitchroom

If you’re looking for a sustainable face mask, Stitchroom has you covered. This Brooklyn-based company aims to eliminate fabric waste and uses leftover fabric from past upholstery projects to make their masks. Normally the company sews pillows, works to reupholster vintage furniture, and creates fabric arts. Additionally, they have organized a volunteer program called Face Masks for Our Front Lines, with 450 volunteers sewing over 15,000 masks across the country. Because they are using recycled fabrics, the colors and patterns will vary, but you can choose the color palette when you order. The current estimated ship rate is 1 to 2 weeks. Children’s face masks $25; Regular/ Large masks $27

Peter Piper BK

If you are obsessed with your tie-dye sweatpants, leggings and sweatshirts right now in quarantine, you’ll want a tie-dye face mask to match. Peter Piper BK is a label I found on Etsy, designed by Ruth Moskell and named after her cat. She is selling both tie-dye and batik print face masks with filter pockets that are made out of 100% cotton and come in an array of colors with great reviews. They ship out in less than three days, so you’ll have your protection in no time. Tie-Dye Masks $15

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