There is no question that the fashion trend of 2020 is to accessorize any outfit with a face mask. The COVID-19 pandemic left finding masks to be nearly impossible at the start. Creative artists across Colorado have responded to the need for face masks by creating and selling their own reusable ones.
VELA Apparel — Vail, Colorado
Initially, Elise Reynolds says they did make masks in response to COVID-19. “We did make masks at first. We probably made 500 or so, just out of recycling t-shirts that were printed crooked or something like that, so we were able to create six masks per t-shirt,” she says.
Since selling out of masks, Vela has not made any additional masks.
“We have thought about making some of our designs on some, but we haven’t gotten to that step yet,” Elise adds. “It was nice to be able to make a ton of masks at the beginning when there just weren’t many.”
Currently, Reynolds is finishing up working on new items for the next season.
“We are working on our winter collection right now,” she says. “A lot of it is tailored for the fact we have all been a little cozier than normal and going into winter it will probably be similar.”
Ally Barnes — Boulder, Colorado
Ally Barnes, a University of Colorado Boulder student, started making masks for herself and now has been starting to make some for sale.
“I started mask making a couple months ago. My stepmom, Becky, taught me how to make them and I loved doing it so much,” says Barnes. “I’ve made about 15 for myself and I started selling them to friends and family.”
Ally says she has always been artistic. “For most of my life, I have always been very interested in crafting of all times,” she says. “While I was home during quarantine, my stepmom taught me not only how to sew, but then how to make the masks.” Something Barnes says she picked up quickly.
“My favorite masks are definitely my sunflower ones — they are bright and cheery and super cute. Everyone that buys masks from me also say they are a favorite,” she adds. ”All of my masks are fully reversible too, so even if someone has a sunflower on one side, who knows what’s on the back!”
Bearington Threads — Fort Collins, Colorado
Juliette Sheng says she started making masks in April of this year with her boyfriend for themselves and eventually for family.
“Before making masks, I didn’t have a major background in sewing. I would sew occasional tears in clothes or hem my pants because I’m very short,” says Sheng. “Most of my art hobbies aren’t as related to sewing, however, including stained glass, painting, photography.”
Not only is Sheng able profit from a hobby she loves, she says, “The best part about making masks is being able to create a business from the ground up with my boyfriend and share the successes with him.”
“My favorite mask I’ve made is part of our bridal collection,” she adds. “It is made of floral lace layered over ivory satin with pearl beads hand-sewed in. I enjoyed it because it put my creativity to the test.”