If you’re like most college students, the majority of your time this past year has been spent inside, attending classes on screen. You might make the occasional venture outside to (safely) see friends or go study at a coffee shop. I know personally that I treat even the smallest outings like grocery shopping as a chance to feel like I get to wear “real clothes” (which in my mind are anything other than the grey sweatpants that should basically become a part of my body at this point). However, although things have looked quite a bit different for the past year, your style doesn’t have to. With many schools (including SDSU) planning to return to mainly in-person classes this fall,you might be wondering where to find cute, sustainable face masks. While the 200 pack of thin blue medical masks at Target for $12.99 might look appealing, I urge you to choose more sustainable, reusable choices. In fact, I found five different brands that are not only sustainably made, but also give back to charitable causes.
5 SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
Kitsch is a female-owned accessory brand founded by Cassandra Thurwell in 2010. Within the past year, they have turned to selling face masks in addition to matching hair clips and scrunchies. Many of their masks come in 3-pack packages with multiple patterns to play around with depending on what look you’re going for any particular day. They offer basic solid colors like light pink, nudes, and black to flower print and cheetah. There’s definitely plenty of choices to keep you looking fresh in your classes.
2. Hate is a Virus
Hate is a Virus is a non-profit organization started in April 2020 in response to the dramatic rise in violent and hate crimes against AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) during the pandemic. One of the big reasons that I love this mask is because when you purchase one (or a few for your friends!) 100% of the net profits go back to Hate is a Virus in order to help with educational resources and outreach to fight racism and hate. Even though this mask is a little more on the pricey side ($16.00 without tax), you’ll be looking good and feeling great knowing that your money went to an amazing cause in helping out the AAPI community.
Shown: #HATEISAVIRUS Reusable Face Mask: $16
3. Love Is Project
The company Love Is Project, which was started by Chrissie Lam, has since been featured on “Shark Tank” and on national news. Originally focusing on beaded bracelets made by women from the Maasai tribe of Kenya, they have since also added face masks to their collection since the pandemic began. They offer a wide array of different patterns and styles, including masks that have elastic straps or tie back options (great for people with tiny heads like me). With any of these fashionable masks, you are sure to spread love and happiness to those around you.
Shown: Love Is Project Heart Tie Face Mask: $14
I’ve been a big fan of Aerie for years (even before the viral TikTok leggings blew up)—their products are always great and I love their focus on inclusivity. Recently, the have begun selling adorable face masks with so many different patterns and colors they even have some sports teams!). Aerie offers a variety of masks for any situation, including ones for training or exercising, masks with matching scrunchies (the scrunchies even have a zipper pocket!!!) and eye shields designed to look like sunglasses. With so many styles and patterns to pick from, you’ll be walking onto campus feeling safe and fabulous.
If Everlane sounds familiar, that’s because they have been blowing up for their reasonably priced, quality basics this past year. Founded in San Francisco in 2010 and known for their comfy loungewear and sustainable denim, their emphasis on radical transparency in their supply chain and labor practices have made me a big supporter. Their face masks come with stretchable ear pieces made from a cotton-Lycra blend, and customers can even see exactly which factory produced their facemask (including details about who works there and how workers are supported). As part of their 100% Human line, 10% of proceeds from all face masks sold get donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Shown: The 100% Human Face Mask 5 pack for $25
With so many different brands making masks now, there are a wide variety of fashionable options out there to fit everyone’s style. However, I encourage you to seek out sustainable, charitable brands so that you feel like you are making a difference with your dollar. All the brands listed above are incredible options to help you stay safe and make an entrance for your return to campus.