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Wear a Mask, but Make it Fashion

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My first love in the fashion industry was design. From a young age, I loved to design clothes. All throughout my childhood, my grandmother and mother made beautiful dresses for my sister and me, and eventually I wanted to follow in their footsteps. After graduating from college as an art history major, I decided to continue my education further with an additional degree in fashion design. I apprenticed for a local women’s designer who taught me everything from garment construction to the perfect way to steam final creations. This apprenticeship led me to creating my own line of dresses that I can proudly say walked down a couple of the most famous Kansas City runways. 

Even as my career has now shifted into styling, I still love design and have the utmost respect for anyone that has the talent and skill to bring their vision to life. So, I was ecstatic when I heard there was an organization that supported this art right here in KC. Founded by Jennifer Lapka, Rightfully Sewn was started as a non-profit organization that would support the fashion industry of Kansas City. It has an innovative seamstress-training program that provides opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the business of fashion, especially those that might have had challenges securing employment. Since it was founded in 2015, the organization has been able place seamstresses at various companies in the Kansas City area.

Flash forward to January 2020. The news was filled with the need for N95 masks in the midst of a global pandemic. In February, Lapka began receiving messages through social media channels asking for masks. She knew she couldn’t ignore the need in her community and beyond. Lapka’s design is a functioning face mask that doubles as a beautiful accessory for any fashionista out there. It is not only comfortable, but also sustainable. 

Many of us have found that anyone can make a mask, but finding one that is comfortable and functional isn’t easy. Lapka and her team did extensive research on the mask design and once the design was finalized, the mask pattern was drafted and samples created. With design and fit both critical components for success, the team needed fit models! Looking to the community, Rightfully Sewn sent samples to a local family with a mother, father and toddler to ensure a good fit for many sizes. Once the pattern was perfected, the final masks were made from the personal homes of Rightfully Sewn’s own seamstresses. Not only was this organization able to keep their seamstresses employed throughout the pandemic, they were also able to donate masks to over 30 different entities in need. 

Rightfully Sewn’s masks are constructed from textiles made from 100 percent recycled water bottles and lined with 100 percent cotton fabric, all sourced from the United States. They have created two different designs, the hospital mask and the fashion mask. The fashion mask comes in multiple color options. The black is, of course, my favorite, because it goes with everything! For a classic look, choose the black and white houndstooth design. If you are feeling edgy, the reptilian emerald green pattern with black details is perfect for you! The coral malachite gives off eclectic vibes and the feminine pink gardenia design will add a soft, romantic touch to your ensemble. 

Since the initial launch, the design has been modified to fit four sizes, and the 2.0 fashion mask includes a flexible nosepiece. This mitigates the dreaded glasses fog many of us have experienced! Each fashion mask also comes with adjustable straps for around your ears to ensure a perfect fit. Overall, this mask has been the best design I have found, and as your trusted stylist, I would highly recommend it. In these unprecedented times, if we need to wear a mask, use this as a great opportunity to support a local organization and look polished while doing it! 

Masks can be purchased directly at

Written by: Abby Wood

Abby Wood is a wardrobe stylist and style blogger in Kansas City, and her education in design plus retail experience make her an expert in fit, fabric, style and trends. Her professional experience in fashion began with an apprenticeship with a bridal designer, shifted to creating and showing her  own line, moving up to management and training at a retail level and now professional styling as an independent consultant. Abby loves to help individuals develop and evolve their own sense of style.