Facemask Q&A with Dre Cortes and Lex Londino of Bows for Beaux Co.

Queer Masks
Founders of Bows for Beaux display their masks. Photo via Bows for Beaux

No matter where you procure your masks, please wear them properly and stay safe!

One important part of the Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT is highlighting safe and affirming places for trans and queer folx to purchase masks. In addition to this Q&A series, we maintain a list on the project homepage. This Q&A was crafted to highlight some unique aspects of the participating businesses and explore related issues, including the manifestation of racial justice in the LGBTQIA+ community and the real struggles of running a small business in this economy.

I discovered Bows for Beaux through an article posted on DapperQ. I checked out their Insta and saw some gorgeous designs. So I reached out and they agreed to participate in our Q&A series.

Note: Dre and Lex have kindly set up a coupon code for Pghlesbian readers. Use this in their Etsy shop. MASQUE15. This coupon code is good for 15% off anything in the shop and is good until 2/18/21.

Name: Dre Cortes and Lex Londino
Pronouns: both of us use they/them/theirs
Your Business Name: Bows for Beaux Co.

How do you describe your identity? Queer, Transgender, Latinx, POC

Tell us about your company: Bows for Beaux Co. was founded due to our collective love for bowties. Many members of our community like to express themselves in different ways so we thought it would be fun to make custom designs for many to enjoy

How did you decide to create and sell facemasks? We are both proficient in sewing and once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we rose to the occasion to expand our business to include the new need for facemasks.

Please describe your mask style(s) for our readers. What inspired the design? We got our pattern from the way that surgical masks are designed including pleats, elastic ear loops, and adjustable nose bridges to fit a variety of face shapes and reduced fogging up for eyeglass wearers. Co-Founder, Lex, is a healthcare worker and they are well versed with masks in a hospital/clinical setting.

Dapper Face Masks

The Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT was established to connect trans and queer community members with facemask vendors that are respectful & safe. We live in a world where bakeries go to the Supreme Court to deny us wedding cakes and health care providers want to deny care to transgender neighbors. It is not a big leap for those of us who are queer to imagine being refused a chance to buy a mask when that is legal, like in most of Pennsylvania. That’s why I want to highlight your masks. Being safe isn’t just about wearing the mask, it has to be about securing the mask in the first place. Your thoughts? Everyone should have access to facemasks during the global pandemic. We have provided several packs to local organizations that help folks who are currently experiencing homelessness. No one is safe if we aren’t all safe.

It is also important for all of us to support local/queer owned/ally owned small businesses. How have you and the business been navigating these past months of plague, economic uncertainty, and demands for racial justice? Things have taken an interesting turn this year and we have done our best to adjust to the changes by being flexible with what we offer. Some folks request ties instead of elastic ear loops, we have small and medium sizes for children, we have donated portions of our profits to local organizations led by Black and Trans community leaders.

We are both proficient in sewing and once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we rose to the occasion to expand our business to include the new need for facemasks.

You brag about Baltimore in many of your social media posts. Is Baltimore a good place to explore dapper identity? Baltimore City has a thriving local art community, Trans community, and Queer community. Co-Founder, Dre, used to program events for the Baltimore Transgender Alliance ranging from balls to craft fairs. The community is vibrant and safe to express themselves at our events. It is a beautiful thing to see.

How long do you plan to offer face masks? As long as there is a need, and we have access to materials, we will keep making masks.

What else can people buy from you? Bowties! We offer many fun and unique designs and will soon be introducing handmade wooden bowties to our collection.

Where can our readers find you online and on social media?
Etsy: http://BowsForBeauxCo.Etsy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BowsForBeauxCo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bowsforbeauxco/

Note: Dre and Lex have kindly set up a coupon code for Pghlesbian readers. Use this in their Etsy shop. MASQUE15. This coupon code is good for 15% off anything in the shop and is good until 2/18/21.

Anything else you’d like readers to know? No matter where you procure your masks, please wear them properly and stay safe!

Thank you!


The Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT connects members of the trans and queer community with face masks to protect them during the coronavirus. This includes identifying safe vendors for purchasing masks as well as offering mask distributions. To sign up as a featured vendor, please email us at pgh[email protected]

Read other posts in this series

Facemask Q&A with HauteButch Founder & Designer Karen Roberts

Facemask Q&A with Goblin Girl Designs’ Lori Korchok

Facemask Q&A with Shapeshifters Eli Coughlin-Galbraith

Facemask Q&A with Stoney Michelli of Stuzo Clothing

 

How to get face masks in Pittsburgh

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