L.A. Times – November 15, 2010

Flu protection, fashionably

November 15, 2010 |

Fashionistas who’ve known the horror of a chapped nose, or who merely fear the flu, have a new option for covering up. They’re called fashion face masks — FDA-approved N95 breathable medical masks that have been upfitted with fabric, sequins — even monogramming.

The latest addition to a line of fashion medical accessories from the Miami-based line Sling Couture, fashion face masks debuted this fall and retail for $9.95 apiece. They last for about four uses.

“When you look better, you feel better, you heal better,” said Sling Couture founder Robyn Tauber. Tauber knows of what she speaks. She started the company two years ago after getting hit by a truck while walking on a pedestrian path and suffering a fractured arm.

“The doctor gave me an ugly, uncomfortable sling that actually made my fracture worse,” Tauber said. “The cast was heavy. It kept slipping out. The fabric was bad. I felt like a freak wearing it. Everybody was staring at me for the wrong reasons.”

So, taking the opportunity of a black-tie party she’d been invited to, Tauber found some comfortable black fabric and sequins and asked a seamstress to sew it into a more fashionable, and comfortable, couture sling.

“Everywhere I went after that for months, hundreds of people walked up to me wanting to take pictures and to buy one,” said Tauber, a former Fendi retailer who’s been so successful with this unconventional line of fashion accessories that it’s now her full-time job.

In addition to face masks — available for men and women in 11 different styles — Sling Couture also makes fashion slings and cast covers.

No joke.

– Susan Carpenter

Photo: Sling Couture