New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a constant presence in all Americans’ lives over the past eight months, even if you don’t reside in the state. You’ve likely tuned in to one of his impassioned COVID briefings or read his persistent tweets about wearing masks. But while his somewhat strange analogies (still wondering about the “boyfriend cliff”...) are no longer a part of our daily routine, his wear-a-mask campaign is still going strong. On Monday, the governor and his daughter, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, announced a partnership with luxury fashion consignment store The RealReal and more than 20 New York-based designers that includes a campaign to further enforce its message. Introducing Mask Up, an official New York State-backed fashion campaign designed to build awareness about the importance of wearing face masks during the pandemic and benefit COVID-19 relief efforts.
Cuomo made the announcement during a press briefing where he also released a list of the designers and charities involved in the Mask Up campaign. Overall, there will be five total drops, each of which will have a different theme and a number of new designer mask options. Proceeds will be donated evenly among three nonprofit organizations: Feeding America, a network of over 200 food banks across the country; the New York COVID Relief Fund, which provides resources to healthcare workers, local small businesses, displaced hourly workers, and immigrant workers, among others; and Nurse Heroes, which is raising money for nursing scholarships, as well as necessities like scrubs and other medical equipment for nurses on the frontlines. Monday’s drop, titled “I Wear A Mask For Democracy,” was inspired by the New York state value of “smart.” (Per a release, New York has five total core values: tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving.) It includes Public School’s “New York Tough” mask, as well as masks by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Mara Hoffman, Nili Lotan, and Tanya Taylor, who opted out of a NYFW presentation in September and instead shared a celebrity-filled video encouraging people to register to vote. The drops will continue weekly on Mondays through the end of November with masks by Collina Strada, Chromat, Altuzarra, Noah, Romeo Hunte, Sandy Liang, Victor Glemaud, and Michael Kors, among others.
“[Wearing a mask is] the best way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and it shows that you're thinking about the collective before yourself,” Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the co-founders and co-creative directors of CFDA-winning streetwear brand Public School, explained to Refinery29. The duo designed a black mask with the phrase “New York Tough” printed on it alongside two fists facing each other. "The fist has long been symbolic of resistance and the collective struggle, especially in these times of social injustice,” the designers continued. “We wanted to design something that represented the power of the people coming together to fight for a common cause. New Yorkers have always had each other's backs, and that hasn't changed for this pandemic."
If you’re looking for some more color for your face, Mara Hoffman’s masks are covered in a vibrant, jungle-like print, while Nili Lotan’s masks have a micro-floral pattern. 3.1 Phillip Lim’s masks feature a custom bandana design, and Tanya Taylor’s come in a colorful pack of three.
“From bold patterns and feminine florals to street styles, these designs let you reflect your personal style with your mask, all while helping support communities in need through our charity partners,” said Sasha Skoda, The RealReal’s Head of Womenswear. As for working with the Cuomos and New York State, she says it was “incredible to put a very needed spotlight on masks.” “We hope together we will inspire people to fight the fatigue and mask up in style to protect themselves and their communities,” Skoda said.
Shop the first five designer face masks from the Mask Up campaign starting Monday at TheRealReal.com.