Montréal designers turn masks into fashion

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

Montréal designers are making public safety en vogue, translating their signature styles into surprisingly fashionable reusable masks. In countless fabrics, patterns and colours, their high-quality, non-medical masks provide more peace of mind, another way to express yourself through fashion and a way to support local business too!

Buy local, bolster community

Physical distancing and hand-washing are still the best protection against COVID-19, but masks play a role too. If you're making an essential trip out of the house, wearing a non-medical mask can help protect others – the more people who wear masks the better their overall effectiveness. Mask making has also let local designers continue to pay their atelier workers, stay in business, and donate masks and sales proceeds to essential workers and organizations. Our list of Montréal designers highlights masks sure to suit anyone’s style – and who knows, maybe you'll spot that perfect designer jacket or summer dress while you're online mask shopping!

Visionary designers

Maison Marie Saint Pierre: A doyen of comfortable luxury for 30 years, Marie Saint Pierre has created a set of masks that manage to be both minimalist and lush, like the perfect little black dress.

Denis Gagnon: A staple of powerfully feminine Montréal fashion since 1993, Denis Gagnon has designed silk-like, velour and sequined masks for those days when you need a real pick-me-up – the designer donates $2 for each mask sold to the Fondation Le Chaînon.

Nathon Kong: Renowned for bespoke high-end suits and luxurious fabrics, Nathon Kong extends his ethical made-in-Montréal style to gorgeous Mulberry silk masks that are legitimately a work of art in themselves. The designer donates 10% of the proceeds to local non-profit therapeutic art organizations.

BODYBAG by Jude: Launched in 1998, Judith Desjardins's brand of classic and contemporary wear is designed entirely in Montréal. Her masks range from monochromatic to eye-catching tropical patterns, with two layers of cotton fabric and an interlining of polypropylene. Part of the profits are donated to Mission Mile End.

Jennifer Glasgow Design: Like several local designers on this list, Jennifer Glasgow's brand creates ethically made and ecologically minded fashion – and their masks are no exception, reflecting quality and creativity in four sizes available in a variety of prints.

atelier b: When customers working in the health sector asked atelier b to make washable masks for them, the Mile End designers stepped up to the task – and then kept on sewing their soft, pleated masks to meet demand for more.

Katrin Leblond: Known for her eye for exquisite colours and patterns, Katrin Leblond digs deep into an enviable cache of fabrics to create masks for all styles and sizes, sold in packs of four. The designer donates masks to essential workers and $1 from each mask sold goes to non-profit Welcome Collective.

Cokluch: Another Montréal fashion designer whose patterns and fabric choices never cease to impress, Cokluch makes beautiful masks in a variety of looks, in three sizes and with a pocket to insert a filter of your choice.

Ramonalisa: As comfortable and elegant as the brand's clothing, Ramonalisa's masks are made with eco-responsible and organic fabrics and available for delivery or pickup from their de Gaspé Avenue studio. 

Local faves

Miljours: Designer Marie-Anne Miljours creates elegant “slow fashion” eco-leather accessories and for fans of the brand she's designed a lovely minimalist washable mask in three colours and sizes.

Lowell: Maker of sleek and timeless unisex bags that embody Montréal style, Lowell adds a simple mask to its urban-chic line.

Frank & Oak: A global success story made in Montréal, Frank & Oak started making thick cotton masks in sets of two for its large and loyal following, with proceeds going to Moisson Montréal.

MissMe: One of Montréal's favourite graffiti artists, MissMe is never to be underestimated. She's turned her artistry and activism into cloth masks bearing Montréal’s unifying message during the crisis: ‘’We got this.’’ Proceeds go to L'Ordre des Infirmières et Infirmiers du Québec.

Annie 50: Focused on retro and vintage styles with a modern twist, Annie 50 makes masks to match in a variety of fun patterns and colours.

Entrepreneurs who care

Bien Aller is a young company intent on making masks for as many people as possible – and making work for Montrealers by locally designing, manufacturing, and packaging reusable masks. It donates 10% of profits to CanadaHelps.

Bigarade: A specialist in ecologically sound, luxurious bedding, Bigarade first applied its high standards to mask making for health care workers and first responders – now its double-knit polyester masks with polypropylene filters are available to the public.

String Theory: An innovative Montréal textile creator, String Theory has started making masks from its original fabrics, in eight sizes and five colours. 

+ MASK +: Three friends from film, theatre and fashion circles joined up to boost morale during the pandemic by creating quick-drying polyester masks, with $1 from every sale going to local food banks.  

Mode ézé plus: A local expert in adaptive clothing for people with reduced mobility and other disabilities, Mode ézé plus adds eco-friendly waterproof masks for all ages to its range of apparel.

arloca: A boutique on Saint-Hubert Street specializing in Québec-made fabrics, arloca offers masks in several colours and two fabric choices.

La Licornerie: A unicorn-themed boutique and bakery, La Licornerie sells masks adorned with unicorns, rainbows and other cute designs for both kids and adults.

Discover even more Montréal designers and artisans offering masks online through Etsy.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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