In the wake of COVID-19, fashion designer Nana N. Yoshida (’09, MA ’17) quickly pivoted to creating fashionable face coverings for her clients. She chatted with us about the experience.

Nana Yoshida

When did you decide to start making face masks as a response to this pandemic?
I started making face masks relatively early, in early March. At the time, only a few people were wearing face masks. So the very first ones I’d made were beige ones to match the skin tones so that it didn’t appear too conspicuous. I stopped making beige ones ever since the CDC announced its recommendation for people to wear face coverings. That’s because you don’t want to look like you are not wearing one when everyone else started making an effort to wear one to prevent the spread of the virus. Now it’s become important that you make sure that people see you wearing a face covering.

Is making masks/face coverings something you had experience in or something you had to quickly learn?
As a designer, I’ve made some theatrical masks. I’d also made some fashion face masks for my clients when it was trendy for a short period of time in 2003. But making practical face masks is something that I’m doing now for the first time.

What makes your masks unique?
I made my original pattern from scratch, to create face masks that fit snugly. My face coverings are not too big, like those one-size-fits-all adult sized ones. Also, I’m only using the materials that I already had in my inventory, so some of the fabrics I use are vintage and rare. I use contrasting lining for some of the face masks.

How can other alumni acquire one of your masks if they’re interested?
I sell my face masks at!

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