Though the city has returned to its old rhythm, face masks remain pretty much ubiquitous. As we get more used to leaving the house with a mask, it’s not surprising that retailers are getting more creative, proving that masks are as much an accessory as they are a precaution. If you’re bored of plain white paper or solid colors – or looking for a foolproof gift in the post-quarantine age – consider getting your hands on one of these designer face masks.
On July 4, luxury fashion label OFF-WHITE released a new mask collection. With the same bold design at their predecessors, the new masks include an interior pocket to store filters or gauze. The collection (courtesy of Something & Associates c/o Off-White Tokyo) is fashionable (sporting characteristic minimal-cool designs) and functional (allowing for greater protection). You can choose among stripes, an arrow icon or numerous text-laden styles (a few amusingly self-referential). ¥12,000
2. Uniqlo Airism Face Mask
This much-anticipated product hit Uniqlo stores in June – you might have seen the lines on the Japanese news. Meeting functionality, comfort and affordability, the mask has three layers: a protective outer mesh; a filter; and the light, smooth and cool Airism layer that rests comfortably on your skin. You can purchase packs of three, and they come in three sizes. As of now, customers are limited to one pack per purchase, but it is anticipated that the masks will become more readily available in the future. ¥990
3. OTOELOGY Remake Mask
For those wanting a statement piece, try scouring the city for smaller retailers and boutiques. You’ll come across shops like OTOELOGY, a vintage store that has channeled its crafty energies and love for frill into this face mask. Made with an elegant repurposed fabric, pearl embellishments and long gold chains that wrap snugly around the ears, the Remake Mask conforms to all the contours of your face (no slippage) and is a one-of-a-kind accessory to boot. OTOELOGY is in Jingumae, and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. Check out their Instagram for more information. ¥5,400
Simple but chic, denim masks are particularly popular this summer, with brands like Edwin jumping on board; jeans go with everything, after all. For a unique rendition of the denim mask, boutiques like Kurashiki, a denim retailer in Okayama (coined the “Holy Land of Denim”), are the way to go. Kurashiki produces masks in a range of blue and several other colors, all with brass rivets to ensure they are sturdy. You can also purchase sets of three, five or 10. They even have a set inspired by the TBS Friday-night drama MIU404. Costs vary
HERALBONY, a brand that collaborates with artists in welfare facilities, has started a crowdfunding campaign selling various reversible masks. These products, which can also be worn plain, sport designs created by four intellectually disabled artists. Ranging from Impressionistic to modern, rippling with sharp line and color, not only are the designs canvas-worthy, but the masks are highly functional. They contain the antiviral material Viabloc and sustainable Micromodal fiber. You can purchase “plans” ranging from one to a whopping 400 masks. Costs vary