THE virus strips away a little bit of ourselves every day — including half our faces. When our faces are covered, how can we continue to express ourselves? For some designers, the answer is chic face masks.

At a time like this masks allow a certain freedom. As Chuck Palahniuk writes in the novel Invisible Monsters: “In the way our world is, everybody shoulder to shoulder, people knowing everything about you at first glance, a good veil is your tinted limousine window. The unlisted number for your face. Behind a good veil, you could be anyone. A movie star. A saint.”

BusinessWorld has put together a listing of sources for stylish masks below, but note that since a lot of them are not medical grade, it may be best to wear a filter or a second surgical mask underneath them.

We love the toile du jouy masks of Debbie Co, which have a bit of a Gone With the Wind vibe to them. They’re made in washable cotton and printed in red, black, or blue, and might remind you of blue-and-white china. Other materials are also available, such as a set made of silk brocade. Prices vary, but the toile du jouy sets cost P950 for two. Order through Instagram @atelierdebbieco. Part of the proceeds will go towards donating PPEs to frontliners.

Esteemed designer Rhett Eala is also making face masks, costing P1,250 for a pack. Each pack contains five face masks in assorted fabrics and prints, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it includes the one in silk brocade, with a raised pattern of a peacock. For every purchase, P200 will be donated to select organizations to help feed the frontliners and families in need. Order through

Designer Zarah Juan is known for using local textiles for her work, and her line of face masks wouldn’t be different. She has the Bagong Pag-Asa mask, a triple-layered mask made with indigenous fabric, with a nose-pinch wire, soft garters for the ears, and six non-woven filters. Order through Facebook @zarah821.

Designer Kelvin Morales, who we admire for his barongs, is releasing a line of masks embroidered with a Death’s-head hawkmoth (like in Silence of the Lambs). A portion of the sales will go to a charity helping out “no work, no pay” workers. Order through Instagram @kelvinmmorales.

For just the right amount of quirk, Basic Movement is offering masks printed with polka dots, or else eggs; or in denim. Several other patterns are also available. They are made by local brands such as Proudrace and Vina Romero, and a portion of the proceeds go toward providing N95 masks for frontliners. Order through Instagram @basicmovement.

The line of masks by local brand Bibsisita is made by local sewers in woven cotton. What makes them special are the little artworks printed on them, depicting quiet scenes with Filipinas. The masks have three layers of fabric, have a filter pocket, and are washable. Order through

Made with the inabel fabric of Ilocos, the washable and reversible cotton masks in various patterns look cozy. The masks, made by local weavers, help support their continued livelihood. Order through Instagram @masabel.iloco.

La Mascherina, meaning “mask” in Italian, is a new line by Fino Leatherware suited for these times. It’s made with French calfskin and lined with sheepskin, and comes with two detachable and washable filters. Thirty percent of the sales’ proceeds go towards a fund for frontliners. Order through Instagram @finoleatherware. — Joseph L. Garcia