Apparel makers turn to masks in style

Siyana and Andrew Huszar, a city couple who co-own the clothing company Marcellamoda, wanted to make a difference in people’s daily lives during COVID-19, so in April their company started learning how to make face masks.

About six months after the pivot, their product was ranked #2 best-fitting mask by the Wall Street Journal in an August 28 article, “We tested 50 face masks to find the best one.”

“It was pretty amazing, mostly because I’m obsessed with the fit of our clothes and basically applied the same principles to the mask,” Siyana Huszar said, noting that a nose wire is included. “It was really great because it validated all the work we put in.”

Marcellamoda is partially based in the Norwood building on North Maple Street in Florence, but works with a designer in New York and has a predominantly female workforce at a clothing studio in Bulgaria, where Siyana is from. , said Andrew Huszar. The company has around 40 employees combined and also manufactures cocktail dresses, jackets, coats, pants and skirts.

“Essentially, our style is minimalist and utilitarian with a little twist,” Siyana said. “So basically our clothes are minimalist nightwear with a bit of an edge. Aesthetics aside, we think it’s very durable. It is supposed to last a very long time. It’s very easy to create a wardrobe with our pieces because most of them are out of season.

She added that their clothes are meant to be “timeless”, drawing inspiration from classic designers such as Japanese fashion designers Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake.

The name of the company comes from Siyana’s grandmother, who was a famous fashion designer in Bulgaria. Her grandmother’s nickname was “Marcella”, while “moda” is a common word for fashion across Europe, she said.

Since April, the couple have donated about 4,000 cotton face masks to healthcare facilities and schools in New York and Massachusetts, including Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton and Paige Academy in Boston, Andrew said. .

“One thing people have said is, ‘Not only do I have a mask that I look good in, relatively speaking because it’s a mask, but I can wear it all day and feel comfortable. “”, did he declare.

Siyana said they went through different stages and designs to create the company’s masks.

“We are very familiar with the standard measurements of the human body – chest, waist and hips – but to start doing something for the face for different lengths and shapes, and making it one size, was a pretty tough job,” she said, “The whole team worked tirelessly several nights in a row in April to come up with our design.”

Andrew said he and his wife were on daily conference calls ahead of the mask’s launch in an attempt to buy equipment across Europe. The cotton was sourced from Bulgaria, while the Oeko-tex certified polyester for the mask filters – created without chemicals harmful to humans – was produced in Germany, and the steel nose wire was sourced from Greece.

“How do you find the small metal parts for the nose wire, the rubber bands for the earrings?” Andrew remembered wondering. “We were literally creating a new product and finding a new company in terms of making masks.”

It took a while to develop the sleek look of their mask, says Andrew, and through trial and error they were able to perfect the look.

“For a while the noise part was really sharp and stuck,” he said. “It took us a while to get the actual mask to look good on the face. We probably went through 10 sample iterations before we got it right… It took us a while for the earrings to fit. They were fine for most people at first, but there were some people for whom it was not suitable. So we have incorporated beads on the earrings so they can better customize the fit of the earring.

Siyana said Marcellamoda also offers the new “Journey” collection, which “aims to let you focus on what matters most to you” in terms of minimalist style clothing that can be worn everyday with friends and family.

When developing new clothes, Siyana says she and an assistant designer develop ideas through a “mood board,” in which photos are pinned to a board for inspiration.

“The moodboard really sets the style, the theme, the color accent for the next collection,” she says. “We take a lot of photographs from magazines, newspapers [and] our own sketches.

Andrew said Siyana initially started a version of the business on Etsy before the couple decided to pursue it full-time. They had lived in New York before moving themselves and their business to western Massachusetts three years ago. The couple have a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.

“We are an ethical and sustainable company and have a strong social motivation, which we believe fits well with the Pioneer Valley,” says Andrew. “That’s one of the reasons we moved here.”

He said they drew a circle on a map of the northeast around New York and spent a year researching potential new areas to “root.”

“We have friends who live here and social ties to the valley, but that was about it.”

For more information about Marcellamoda, visit marcellamodanyc.com.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at [email protected]

Michael O. Stutler