Are Fashionable Face Masks Safe and Effective?

American singer-songwriter Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, known more commonly by her stage name Lana Del Rey, has recently found herself in a controversy regarding her choice of mask. When attending a book signing in California with some of her fans, Del Rey chose to wear a mesh mask that looked to provide her no safety or protection from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. This event sparked worry in some of her fans, some even telling her that her actions were “incredibly irresponsible.”

As someone who is in the public eye, it’s apparent that many fans are watching her every move, some even mocking her actions to be more like their favorite star. Her decisions, though equally as harmful, are more influential than any stranger you’d see out on the street. Celebrities and influencers hold a level of responsibility that needs to be acknowledged. Though making mistakes is a natural and healthy part of the process, projecting those mistakes to your younger audience creates more problems than necessary.

Del Rey’s sister tried to clear the air for her, saying that her sister tested negative for the Covid-19 pandemic and was staying 6 feet away from her fans. But how much of a difference does this make? Statistics show that the chances of acquiring the virus between a carrier and someone who is completely healthy and symptom-free is still high. So if one of Del Rey’s fans was a carrier, this makes her chances of getting sick and spreading the virus higher.

This situation is an example of how people need to prioritize safety effectiveness over style. Del Rey recently came out with a statement in response to an article saying, “Great article. The mask had plastic on the inside. They’re commonly sewn in by stylists these days,” she said. “I don’t generally respond to articles because I don’t care. But there ya go.” Though the situation is still up for debate, what’s clear is that a basic blue surgical mask would have done the trick and avoided the controversy.

Charlotte “Lottie” Moss, model from the UK, was spotted wearing a black dress with a mask attached. This sparked controversy and intrigue among the general public, everyone mainy wondering how effective this dress truly is. After doing some research, fans found out that the dress was from the brand “PrettyLittleThing” and sells for just $20. After the pictures surfaced the brand was bombarded with orders and ended up selling out.

Other brands have come out with similar products with a largely enhanced price-tag. However, it’s questionable that these dresses are the best protective device against Covid-19. The materials of these dresses vary but scientists and researchers found that one layer of pure cotton is around 69.4% effective in protecting against the Covid-19 pandemic. So when looking for a mask the best option would be a blue surgical mask or a reliable multi-layered homemade facial covering.

Lady Gaga made many appearances during the Video Music Awards, all while wearing a face mask. The singer performed and accepted awards during the VMA’s each in a different outfit. Gaga stayed fashionable with her mask choices. Her striking and unique choices of masks has led to many websites and magazines raving about them including Fashion Magazine, Insider, and The New York Times. All sources mention how her masks stole the show.

While many celebrities chose not to attend the event and instead accept awards virtually, Gaga wanted to be there in person. So, she decided to stick with her reputation of outrageous outfits and incorporated the masks. But were the masks effective? As far as researchers can tell, yes. All of the nine masks she wore were safe and effective for stopping COVID particles from traveling in the air

Students and teachers do not come to WHS wearing mesh masks, dresses, or Lady Gaga level masks to protect themselves and others. However, they do come to school wearing a variety of different face coverings. Below are pictures of students at Westborough High School wearing unique, fashionable,safe and effective face masks.

Sources Cited and Used:

Isabelle Washington ’24, Talia Bedar ’24, edited by Rachel Fredman ’21