Masks against Corona: How Berlin-based designers cope with the crisis

By producing face masks and spreading positive vibes, Berlin-based designers show their social commitment in these uncertain times.

For the past few weeks, the world has only had one thing on its mind - the coronavirus. While the Senate of Berlin, multiple associations and institutions are actively encouraging the donation of unneeded protective clothing for clinics, doctors’ surgeries, police and fire brigades, many of Berlin’s designers and textile labels are currently producing masks made of fabric, which cover nose and mouth. Although these face masks are not allowed to be referred to as “protective masks” because they do not have the required features to protect the wearer from infection, covering one’s mouth and nose can reduce the risk of infecting others. The mask is not only considered as a fashion accessory, but also a social statement. The person wearing the mask is aware of the gravity of the situation and ensures not to put his/her own or others health at risk. In difficult times like these, where shops are forced to close, supply chains are interrupted and the production of many collections is postponed, the mask also symbolises hope for many designers and labels in Berlin.

Designer Shih-Shun Huang, a so called “Mask-Visionary“

Considering the current situation, it almost seems as if the label #Damur predicted what was to come. During the Berlin Fashion Week in January, face masks were worn at his show as an accessory. Back then nobody had a clue of how serious the impact of the coronavirus would become in Europe. However, at that moment in time, the fashionable masks worn at the #Damur fashion show had the purpose of raising people’s awareness on fine dust pollution. Only those who wore the surgical masks with graffiti designs on them, were admitted to Damur’s show and after-show party. Due to the current developments and safety measures to prevent Sars-Cov-2 from spreading, the designer has decided to set an example by providing the city of Berlin with a total of 300 masks.

Instructions for DIY sewing

The TV-famous fashion designer Guido Maria Kretschmer is also currently sewing masks. In a video tutorial on Instagram, he shows how it is done. His masks are not considered as protective masks, however, even simple coverings for mouth and nose can reduce the risk of the wearer unknowingly infecting others with the virus.

Raising awareness on social media

Having the same purpose in mind, the designers of Designfarm Berlin, an alliance of designers at Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee, recently launched a social media campaign, which promotes wearing masks that cover mouth and nose. In their press release they stated that what has been practiced in Asia for a long time, is also useful to counteract the spread of the virus in our country.

Numerous Berlin-based design labels are working on the production of masks

A huge variety of textile manufacturers and fashion labels are currently working hard to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of mouth and nose covers available. The Berlin-based tie manufacturer, Auerbach, has expanded its product range with a colourful assortment of masks, which can be ordered online.

The label UY also produces simple black face masks, reminiscent of the typical Berlin club style. The designer Isabel Vollrath has even added a ballerina edition to her range of masks, which is available on demand. Colourfully designed masks can also be ordered from Tata Christiane. Ivan Man, Paula Immich and Obectra are currently also producing fashionable mouth and nose covers.

The fact that the designers have reacted to the outbreak of the virus so quickly, proves how adaptable and creative Berlin’s fashion scene is. Another conclusion that can be drawn from the situation, is that people enjoy expressing their consideration and social concern through fashion, as well as through other means.