EG student makes her own face masks


Photo courtesy of Rita Weiner

Darina Lubenov, Staff Reporter

Face coverings are forever trademarked as a must-have accessory in 2020, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, creators have changed the memory of a face covering from a plain, blue surgical mask, to a piece of unique, sustainable and creative fashion statement.

Rita Weiner, a sophomore at EGHS, is one of those independent designers that contributes to the minimization of the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. 

Weiner sews and sells face masks, scrunchies, dog bandanas and stickers that she designs and sells on her Etsy page, which currently has 448 sales as of The Guardian’s publication date. Her sales have even shipped to 42 different states as well as Germany and Switzerland.

Weiner said in an email that she first got into sewing and creating back in January 2020.

“I’ve always been a very crafty person,” Weiner said in an email, “so it was natural for me to take on sewing. However, one person who has inspired me is my grandma, who I never met, but she was a very good seamstress, so that is most likely where I get it from.”

Everything on Weiner’s online Etsy store is her own design and pattern, something she shares that was trial and error for her. Her retail first started when she would sew and sell hair scrunchies to friends and family. That followed with in-person craft shows before Covid-19 hit. 

Ever since starting her online business however, Weiner said she has sold about 250 facial masks.

By making her facial coverings affordable and reusable, Weiner’s small business is one of the many that are contributing to the mitigation of Covid-19, and even the conservation of the Earth.

“Owning a small business (especially during a pandemic) is not easy and takes lots of hard work and dedication,” Weiner said. “I had really no knowledge of sewing and business but I did tons of research. I fully taught myself how to run a business and all the aspects that come with it.”

With an Instagram following of about 450 profiles (@/designsbyritaco) and reviews on Etsy exceeding 165, Weiner said that, “My favorite thing about selling and creating is seeing people use and love the things I make. It’s the best feeling when someone appreciates the time and hard work I put into everything I make.”

Weiner said that her small business is just a small stepping stone for her future career. 

“I know for sure in the future I want to go into the design field,” Weiner said in an email.  I’m very interested in graphic design, however, I may end up wanting to do fashion design as well.

To shop for creative accessories, customers can search DesignsByRitaCo to browse Weiner’s catalogue. 

Masks have become sort of a fashion statement during the pandemic. Popular fashion designer Christian Siriano has been pushing the idea of following CDC guidelines on masks since March 2020, when Covid-19 sent everybody in lockdown. Siriano’s Instagram profile features his models decked out in his designs, literally from head to toe. Facial coverings that spread a message, or ones that match the models attire, are a big part of the Fall 2020 fashion. 

The models on the catwalk are not the only ones who get to wear these luxury masks, though. Designers have created masks that are once again sustainable and effective. Burberry came out with its classic print on a mask made out of excess fabric. Christian Siriano has a set section on his brand’s website just for facial coverings. And Collina Strada, who creates unique and sustainable face masks from leftover fabrics.

The biannual Paris Fashion Week occurred a few weeks back, with designers including Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne, and of course, Siriano, all continuing the iconic catwalk show with facial coverings that were made specially for the shows each designer put on.

Users on Depop and Etsy, like Weiner, are consistently updating their pages with masks that are affordable, sustainable and, of course, fashionably consistent.