In 2020, masks aren’t just for protection – they’re being used to make a statement

CNN  — 

Cowboy boots used to be Sebastian Marquardt’s go-to fashion item. He’d wear them everywhere in his neighborhood of Hamburg, Germany. He liked that the black, pointy shoes – more common in parts of the US – stood out.

But these days, the 43-year-old has a different must-have accessory: A face mask.

Due to coronavirus concerns, some countries have made it mandatory for people to wear masks when they go out. Many, like Marquardt, have used the recommendation as a way to get creative.

Marquardt currently has 10 different face mask styles to choose from – one has pink unicorns, another says “Chill!” But his favorite is the one with his own face on it.

“I’m usually a smiling person. I like to interact with people,” Marquardt told CNN. “But if you have to wear a mask, you aren’t that open anymore. People can’t see your face. It’s a way to show a bit of (my personality), an open and funny person.”

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He’s not the only one who has found a way to make wearing a face mask feel less uniform.

Now, across the globe, people are no longer just using masks as protective gear – they are using them to make statements about their personalities, their politics and their beliefs.

Masks to show off personality

Just as clothes can say a lot about a person, masks can too.

Thousands of different patterns, colors, and styles have popped up on sites like Etsy, showcasing the increased interest in personalizing masks in the time of coronavirus.