PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Four months and counting into the Coronavirus pandemic masks have become a part of our life and our wardrobe.
For some, they remain controversial although perhaps a bit less since President Trump embraced them.
But look around the next time you are out and take in the endless varieties of face coverings and masks.
On the streets of Pittsburgh, a woman with a colorful mask of jigsaw puzzle pieces said, “I really like to do puzzles and I thought it was unique.”
A man with a Black Lives Matter mask told us, “We really do all need one another. Let’s stop playing games and be human to each other.”
There were plain colors, plenty of medical masks, a lot of the homemade variety, and one “Backoff Jagoff.”
A man in a green bandana explained, “I work outside so this actually lets you breathe somewhat. You know some people say I look better with it on,” He said with a hearty laugh and eyes smiling.
A woman with a plaid mask says, “I ordered these for me and my kids and I have a few different creative ones.” Plaids don’t usually match but in this case, her shirt and mask appeared made for each other. “I was running out the door and I just grabbed it and I didn’t realize, Oh! it matches.”
One woman chose her’s because “it was washable.” And a young man was sporting a mask that proudly said Black and Gold, “cause I like the Steelers you know Pittsburgh representing, that’s why I choose this mask.”
Another young man’s face was swallowed by his black mask that stretched from ear to ear, “ this one was given to me by my workplace so it’s approved for the location where I work.”
The variety of masks available grows daily as they become more a part of our wardrobe. All the professional sports and some colleges now offer masks with their team logo. In fact, you can find just about anything on a mask.
WATCH: Grove City Business Creating Custom Masks For Individuals & Businesses
And if you can’t find your choice Chris Ithen can take care of it for you.
IthenUSA out of Grove City has been customizing apparel for years. They were the first to offer “Stronger Than Hate” shirts and since President Trump gave mask the nod Ithen’s phone has been ringing.
“That, I think took some people to the point where they were more proud to display their company brand on their mask. They had masks and used them but not it’s becoming part of our culture and necessity. It’s becoming like wearing a hat or polo shirt its part of the company pride and finally being seen as an understandable basic necessity now.”
Ithen’s production facility updated all its equipment last year and is now poised to handle the influx of unexpected business and some of the requests are unexpected.
“The most creative is the ones where people are asking us, and we’re just getting into this we have the technology, but they are putting their own faces on it and it looks like you don’t have a mask on it. And the funny part is people are giving themselves a mustache they don’t have but it is their mouth.”
With mask running an average of seven dollars depending on the design and the number ordered IthenUSA is ready to go. “We have the ability to print 30-thousand shirts a day, mask are slower and if we are pressed we could probably do 20 thousand masks a day believe it or not.”
Ithen says some companies put their logo’s on masks for their employees while others are looking to sell them.
If you check out the internet you will find almost everything imaginable on a mask. The only limitation to a custom mask is your imagination.