Fashion designers are producing face masks ranging from the subtle to the zany, the dull to the colorful, as the coverings become an everyday part of our lives during the COVID-19 era.
College and professional teams are well-represented, as more and more teams and leagues sign off on licensing agreements.
“This is the new world we’re living in,” said John Wangler, the former Michigan quarterback and founder of Top Cat Sales, which is working with Forever Collectibles to create University of Michigan masks for the Valiant brand.
The three-pack of reusable Michigan masks — all have a slot for an optional filter, which is not included — is $24.99 and available for pre-order from the M Den (mden.com). Forever Collectibles has different Michigan mask designs (FOCO.com). A portion of the proceeds will go to the Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund.
“We want to make sure there’s a give back from both — Michigan’s donating a portion of the royalties and were donating a portion of our profits to the relief fund,” said Wangler, who said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel and Kristen Ablauf, UM’s director of trademark licensing, signed off on the masks because of the charitable aspect.
Michigan State masks are available on FOCO.com for $25 and a portion of the royalties will go to the Spartan Masked Hero Project, which provides masks for those in need.
Wangler, whose Top Cat Sales is a wholesale dealer that provides licensed athletic apparel, received some of the mask samples last week. He said they should be available by the end of this week.
“It’s going to be part of the uniform,” he said. “Like people wearings hats to the games. Everyone is saying if you’re going to go out and we have a chance to go into a stadium and watch the game, you’re going to have to wear masks.”
He will be making masks for high schools and corporations along with other college-licensed masks. There will be additional designs, as well.
“Everyone is going to have 10 masks, because they’re going to match them with their outfits in the fall,” Wangler said. “If they’re going to be mandatory, people are going to match these up with all their things when they’re going out to a restaurant or wherever. You can see some of the designers are coming out with masks. If they’re going to require it, might as well make it a fashion statement.”