Off-White’s $95 Face Mask Is The Hottest Product In The World Right Now
April 3, 2020, was a bittersweet day for streetwear brands that have been selling ‘fashion’ face masks since before coronavirus became our new reality.
It was the day Donald Trump haphazardly encouraged his citizens to ‘voluntary’ start wearing face masks – or anything that vaguely resembled one – when venturing outdoors. On this day, Google searches for the search term ‘face mask’ hit an all-time high. With actual PPE masks totally sold out, streetwear brands like Bape, Anti Social Social Club and Off-White started getting swamped with orders.
Suddenly, an item that was essentially conceived by streetwear designers pandering to the scene’s obsession with accessorising was being considered a medical requirement.
According to the Lyst Index report for the first quarter of 2020, which ranks the world’s “hottest” luxury brands and products, Off-White benefitted from this groundswell of panic-purchasing face masks more than any other brand.
The report ranks Off-White’s ‘arrow logo face mask’ as its hottest men’s product in the world right now. “The $95 face mask sold out across retailers worldwide, but is currently listed for up to three times its original price on resale platforms,” declares the report. It notes that streetwear ‘surgical’ masks are not a new trend (true) and points out that rappers like Travis Scott and Young Thug have been wearing masks for years.
“But the coronavirus pandemic has seen more labels enter the mask market, and a 496% surge in searches for fashion face masks over the quarter. Millions of shoppers worldwide are searching for masks by Off-White, as well as by Fendi, Bape and Marcelo Burlon,” it goes on to explain.
If what Lyst is saying is true, it’s interesting to note that Off-White’s arrow iteration is the only face mask to make the 10 hottest men’s products list. Ultimately, it’s a timely reminder that Virgil Abloh’s marketing genius cannot be underestimated. Where most streetwear brands don’t market themselves (once, this was part of streetwear’s countercultural appeal), Abloh has turned Off-White into a mainstream marketing phenomenon.
In addition to claiming the top spot on the hottest men’s products list, Lyst has also given ranked Off-White the hottest brand in the world, again, citing the Off-White x Air Jordan IV sneaker that was debuted right before the world went into lockdown as also being instrumental to the brand’s 2020 relevance.
Balenciaga was named the second hottest brand in the world for the first quarter, while Nike came in third. The rest of the top ten hottest men’s products list reveals a lot about the scattered headspace we’ve been in when shopping these last few months. Asics’ Gel-Pulse 10 sneakers come in at number eight, which is definitely because all of the gym junkies have suddenly got into running. Trailing the runners comes Versace’s ‘I love baroque’ bathrobe, which, well, interpret as you wish.