This flu season, with the swell of H1N1 hyping up fears of getting sick, pedestrians have been spotted wearing face masks for an extra level of protection (even though the CDC says their effectiveness is questionable). Noting this popularity, a handful of designers set out to create germ barriers that are a little more chic. Check out the coolest manifestations below.
Zipper Lips Mask
Studio Samira Boon—an Amsterdam- and Tokyo-based product, textile and interior design studio—combined form and function for this mask that evokes all but a zip-lipped reaction.
Also designed by Studio Samira Boon, this mask—depicting pretty Geisha-style makeup—challenges the resolve of sickness with Japan’s beloved symbol of grace.
Pig Snout Mask
DIGO is selling this satirical anti-pig mask for the hefty price of $100, which makes it slightly less fun (even if it is for charity).
Right on trend, this mustached mask—also designed by DIGO—satisfies the desire of hipsters everywhere by sarcastically preventing the spread of unfriendly germs.
Octopus Beard Mask
Designed by Japanese Illustrator Yoriko Yoshida, this mask—reminiscent of a Pirates of the Caribbean creature—draws on traditional Japanese colors, styles and themes.
Polka Dot Mask
Etsy seller Sherry Sirof created a flirty line of swine flu masks for the stylishly precautious that includes this playful black-and-white patterned one.
Also designed by Sherry Sirof, this coming-of-age party mask boasts all the protection—plus the frills (literally).
Hello Kitty Mask
Sanrio’s cute cat has been branded on what seems like every accessory in creation; as the medical mask trend takes off, we’re not surprised to see this rendition.
Designer Irina Blok, who silk-screened the image of a burly beard onto this white cotton mask, intended for it to be used for cosmetic/decorative purposes only. Photo courtesy of Irina Blok.
These faux-animal and bandanna-print cloth attachments—which adhere to FDA-approved N95 respirators—are available in packs of trend-setting threes.