Face masks have gone from basic necessities to fashion accessories

SAN ANTONIO – Six months ago, Maggie Ibarra-Jimenez embarked on a journey she feared would change her life for the worse.

The city of San Antonio had ordered all non-essential businesses, including its Maddie Mac store, to close indefinitely due to the coronavirus.

Ibarra-Jimenez, who sold handicrafts in her shop on the northwest side, wondered what her next move would be.

However, she said a friend, with whom she is partnering in a separate business, saw the future and made a suggestion.

Maggie Ibarra-Jimenez sews pieces of one of her handcrafted face masks. (KSAT News 12)

“She said to me, ‘Maggie, you should be making face masks,” Ibarra-Jimenez said. “Sewing wasn’t my thing, but that soon changed.”

With a sewing machine donated by another friend, she began to learn about a needle and thread.

Now she can’t stop making masks as the demand for her handmade creations has increased dramatically.

She even had to recruit her adult children to help her on her assembly line.

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Maddie Mac Boutique masks are made from a variety of fabrics, including some with familiar logos. (KSAT News 12)

“The leopard mask, people love it. Anything to do with college or depending on your profession,” she said, describing some of her designs.

Ibarra-Jimenez, a self-proclaimed “fashionista”, decided to transform the necessary into a fashion accessory.

And it seems there are a lot of mask wearers who agree with the concept.

“I’m just going to have a style, like butterflies or pink with rhinestones on it,” said Faith Estrada, who at the time of the interview was wearing a colorful face covering she bought in Houston.

Face masks took center stage in the shop on the northwest side. (KSAT News 12)

Estrada said she prefers novelty masks to the basic paper type worn by medical professionals.

Betty Tarver, who wore a homemade light blue, said she usually doesn’t give the matter much thought, although others do.

“I’ve seen some that are really, really cute and they have sequins and jewels on them,” Tarver said.

For Avis Love, the white mask covered in musical notes she wore had more sentimental value.

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She said her son made it himself and gave it to her.

However, when she gets the chance, she usually coordinates her masks with her clothes.

“I have different ones,” she said. “My favorite is my black.”

Ibarra-Jimenez struggles to decide which of her designs she prefers.

She is sure, however, that she won’t stop creating anytime soon.

“I don’t know how long we’re going to wear them, but we absolutely have to be comfortable,” she said. “And elegant, fashionable.”

To learn more about Maddie Mac Boutique, click here.

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