A slew of fashion brands have pivoted their manufacturing to meet demand for fabric masks, which can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But one Japanese brand has adapted apparel that rarely sees the light of day under normal circumstances—and may have unwittingly brought back an ’80s trend in the process: underwear as outerwear.
— Atsumi Fashion (@AtsumiFashion) April 15, 2020
Atsumi Fashion, an intimate apparel company in Toyama, Japan, has been making masks out of the material it normally uses to line its bras. About a month ago, the company realized that the lining’s synthetic fabric was similar to that of other disposable masks on the market and repurposed its resources, according to the Japanese Times.
— 近藤あや ????????♀️✨ (@DiamondAya) March 30, 2020
While the initial masks made by Atsumi were a subdued white, the company has since leaned into its source material for the look of the masks too. Atsumi has since produced the masks in a rainbow of pastel colors and even with lace appliqué. (Though as of April 18, they have sold out.)
Mask design has come full circle with Atsumi’s use of bras to produce masks. A surgical mask produced by 3M in 1961, which led to the development of the N95 mask, was also inspired by a bra. Atsumi’s lacy masks are the latest in a larger trend of “cute” face masks being marketed as a rather dystopian spring accessory. I bet this is a trend 1980s-era Madonna, the mother of underwear as outerwear, could get behind.