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Face masks? These NI firms have got you covered if you're a fashionista


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Chris Suitor masks

Chris Suitor masks

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire

Ruedi Maguire

Chris Suitor masks

Chris Suitor masks

Chris Suitor masks

WITH face masks likely to become compulsory in Northern Ireland, fashionistas will be able to step out in style thanks to some enterprising local businesses.

Designers are working to ensure medical-style masks aren't the only option on the market and have come up with a selection of cool face coverings.

Ministers may make masks compulsory in local shops by August 20 if 70% to 80% of shoppers do not comply with the official advice to wear them.

But a number of companies have come up with interesting designs, including leopard-print and sequinned masks.

Belfast menswear specialists Suitor Brothers Tailoring, run by Chris and William Suitor, is offering, for example, matching ties and masks for £50.

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Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

They were inspired to come up with the offer by an internet meme of an American office worker sporting a matching mask and tie under the heading 'The Drip Is Real'.

"Sadly I can't claim it as an original idea - the meme is the inspiration," Chris said.

"I had to look up what 'the drip' meant and it means fashionable and sexy.

"We thought it would be a bit of fun to copy it.

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Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

Ruedi Maguire Facemask designs

"Instead of a tie and matching pocket square set, we are offering tie and mask sets in a range of colours and designs.

"For us, it needs to be stand-out and quirky, something unique. We have a range of bright colours and patterns and people love them."

Chris also set up a new firm called Build a Mask in response to the pandemic. It has made thousands of bespoke masks with logos for local companies and businesses worldwide.

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Ruedi Maguire

Ruedi Maguire

Ruedi Maguire

Also making outrageous and stylish coverings is Ruedi Maguire from Tyrone, who runs a bespoke fashion design business on Belfast's Lisburn Road.

His designs have been in demand since early June and he's bracing himself for another spike in the near future.

"I do a lot of weddings and bespoke bridal wear and everything was cancelled until further notice, so our business stopped during the first week in March," he said.

"We tried our hands at making scrubs for the NHS for about three months.

"Then I realised it was time to try and inject some money back into the business.

"I decided to design some face masks. People seemed really intrigued by them and they just took off.

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Chris Suitor masks

Chris Suitor masks

Chris Suitor masks

"As people here come under more pressure to wear them, we are expecting an increase in demand."

Ruedi's approach to design was to make his masks were fabulous and fun but also safe.

"The pattern was key as we wanted to ensure the masks protected people from the virus, so we have three layers of fabric and two elastics to keep it tight on the face," he said.

"We also worked with fabrics that can be washed at high temperatures because we were conscious of the waste with disposable masks."

With practical considerations sorted, the designer let his imagination do its work to come up with a range of 12 very different and daring designs which retail at £25 each.

"We've leopard-print masks and masks with bling on them and a very popular sequinned zebra-print mask. We sell to both men and women who want something fabulous to wear on their faces," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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