Belfast Telegraph

Future's surgical mask craze inspired by screwed up facial expressions

Dancers Ayo & Teo have been dubbed the originators of the hot summer (17) trend.

Rapper Future was inspired to wear his popular embellished surgical masks by two dancers with distorted faces.

The Mask Off hitmaker started wearing crystal-studded mouth coverings earlier this year (17), sporting the odd look on his Nobody Safe Tour concerts and at red carpet events, but now hip-hop dancing duo Ayo & Teo have come forward to reveal they were the originators of the face fashion trend.

They claim they began sporting decorative surgical masks after a fan on Instagram asked why they screwed up their faces while busting moves.

The dancers have grown attached to the accessories after discovering looks by their favourite mask makers at Japanese cult brand Bathing Ape and now the coverings rarely leave their faces.

"Teo wears his in restaurants and will just have it hanging on his ear," Ayo tells Billboard. "The masks are a part of us."

After Future popularised the look by wearing a Swarovski-bejewelled cover-up to the BET Awards in June (17), and posed for snaps with his daughter Londyn, who followed her father's fashion sense by wearing a cute mini-version of the mask, other rappers have followed suit.

Young Thug, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott are among the other big names who have taken to wearing surgical masks during concerts on the summer festival circuit, and Atlanta, Georgia-based stylist-to-the-stars Zoe Dupree thinks this fashion craze may have some longevity.

"Artists can show an alter-ego," he explains. "It’s more of a performance, theatrical piece."

The bosses at high fashion outlets are also picking up on the trend - Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, whose clothes appear on stars like Celine Dion, Rihanna and Kanye West, is planning to include the surgical mask look in his fall (17) collection, selling each accessory for $68.

"(Designing the masks) was a natural evolution, to relate to a new demographic," Abloh notes.

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