Whitney McKissick knew she wanted to offer face masks for customers at Lizard Thicket, the fashion boutique at Halcyon, but they couldn’t be ordinary ones, so the store’s first shipment included a variety of styles: animal prints, tie dye, lots of solid colors.
At $6 a pop, McKissick hoped they would provide customers with a fashionable way to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
They sold out in 48 hours.
“The response from customers has been extremely positive,” McKissick said.
The face mask has become ubiquitous in public, worn in the grocery store, the subway, and now churches -- any public setting where it’s difficult to maintain six feet of distance from others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) is clear on their public health benefit: to keep the wearer from spreading COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, from spreading to others, especially if the wearer is among those who have the disease but are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.
So the fashion world seized on the face mask’s moment. Search “fashion face mask” on Etsy and over 58,000 results pop up. Fashion magazines like GQ and Vogue have advised readers on where to buy masks from designer brands. Of course, Kim Kardashian’s fashion line Skims is selling them, too, but many companies, like RE/DONE, are donating masks to front-line workers for every purchase.
Lizard Thicket Halcyon had suspended in-person shopping since March 23 as many “non-essential” businesses were temporarily forced to close under Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order. McKissick kept the business going with curbside pick-up and mail delivery options.
When the store reopened on May 3, face masks were the newest item available. McKissick wanted to offer them so customers could follow the C.D.C.’s guidelines. She also knew demand for face masks was making it difficult for some to find them online or in stores.
McKissick decided to sell them at a price that was accessible and offer a selection that allowed customers to buy multiple masks to accessorize with different outfits. The store has masks in sizes for adults and kids (though the C.D.C. says no one under 2 or who has trouble breathing should wear one) and different materials. Some also come with a pocket for filters (the C.D.C. recommends using coffee filters for extra protection).
Functional and now fashionable, McKissick senses an endurable trend in the stylish face mask.
“Fashionable masks are here to stay,” McKissick said. “We are happy to keep selling them for however long we need to.”
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