A fitting success: Garment makers pivot to masks in style

View Photo Gallery
  • Andrew and Siyana Huszar pose near a “mood board” for inspiration in the Florence office of their garment business, Marcellamoda, on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Siyana designs two collections each year which are produced in their atelier in Bulgaria. The brand recently received national recognition for the face mask design its been making since April. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Dahlia Breslow adds adjusting beads to the ear loops on a face mask sold by Marcellamoda on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in the firm’s Florence office. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Siyana and Andrew Huszar pose in the Florence office of their garment business, Marcellamoda. The company recently received national recognition for the face masks it’s been producing since April at its atelier in Bulgaria. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Employees at Marcellamoda’s office in Florence repackage some of the masks the garment business has been producing since April at its Bulgaria atelier. Photographed on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Marcellamoda, a garment business based in Florence and Bulgaria, has been making face masks since April. Photographed on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Siyana and Andrew Huszar, owners of the garment business Marcellamoda, look over photos of their recent collection in the firm’s Florence office on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. The company recently received national recognition for the face masks it has been producing since April at its atelier in Bulgaria. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Siyana and Andrew Huszar, owners of the garment business Marcellamoda, look over photos of their recent collection in the firm’s Florence office on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. The company recently received national recognition for the face masks it has been producing since April at its atelier in Bulgaria. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Siyana Huszar, co-owner of the garment business Marcellamoda, looks over items in the new collection “The Journey” in the company’s Florence office on Friday Sept. 11, 2020, the launch date for the new line. Since April, the brand has been producing face masks at its atelier in Bulgaria. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Siyana Huszar, designer for Marcellamoda, the garment business she runs with her husband, Andrew Huszar, stands near the “mood board” in their Florence office on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Since April, the brand’s atelier in Bulgaria has also been producing face masks. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Employees at Marcellamoda’s office in Florence repackage some of the masks the garment business has been producing since April at its Bulgaria atelier. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Marcellamoda, a garment business based in Florence and Bulgaria, has been making face masks since April. Photographed on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Andrew and Siyana Huszar in the Florence office of their garment business, Marcellamoda. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 9/19/2020 12:37:13 PM

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

Around six months after pivoting, their product was ranked No. 2 Best Fitting Mask by the Wall Street Journal in an Aug. 28 article, “We Tested 50 Face Masks to Find the Best.”

“It felt pretty amazing mainly because I obsess about fit with our garments and basically applied the same principles to the mask,” said Siyana Huszar, noting that a nose wire is included. “It felt really great because it validated all of the work that we’ve done.”

Marcellamoda is partially based in the Norwood Building on North Maple Street in Florence, but works with a designer in New York City and has predominately female workforce at a garment-manufacturing studio in Bulgaria, where Siyana is from originally, said Andrew Huszar. The company has about 40 employees combined and also makes cocktail dresses, jackets, coats, pants and skirts.

“Essentially our style is minimalist utilitarian with a little twist,” Siyana said. “So basically, our clothing is minimalist big night clothing with a little bit of an edge. Besides the aesthetic, we think it’s very sustainable. It’s meant to be very long lasting. It’s very easy to create a wardrobe with our pieces because most of them are season-less.”

She added that their garments are meant to be “timeless,” taking their 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 the term “moda” is a common word for fashion across Europe, she said.

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

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

Siyana said they went through various stages and designs in creating the company’s masks.

“We’re very familiar with the standard measurements of the human body — the chest, waist and hips — but starting to do something for the face for different lengths and shapes, and make it one-size-fits-all, was a pretty challenging task,” 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 conference calls daily before the launch of the mask in attempts to purchase materials from across Europe. The cotton was sourced in Bulgaria, while Oeko-tex certified polyester for mask filters — created without chemicals harmful to humans — was produced in Germany, and steel nose wire came from Greece.

“How do we find the little metal pieces for the nose wire, the elastics for the ear loops?” Andrew recalled wondering. “We were literally creating a new product and figuring out a new business in terms of how to make masks.”

It took some time to develop their mask’s sleek appearance, Andrew says, and through trial and error they were able to perfect the look.

“For a while, the noise part was really pointy and stuck out,” he said. “It took us awhile to get the actual mask to look right on the face. We probably went through 10 iterations of samples before we got it right … It took us a while to get the ear loops to fit. They fit most people perfectly in the beginning, but there were some people for whom it didn’t fit. So we incorporated beads on the ear loops so that they could customize the fit of the ear loop better.”

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

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

“The mood board really defines the style, the theme, the color accent for the next collection,” she says. “We draw a lot of photography from magazines, newspapers [and] our own sketches.”

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

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

He said they drew a circle on a map of the Northeast around New York City and spent a year researching potential new areas for them to “put down roots.”

“We have friends who live here and some social connections to the Valley, but that was about it.”

For more information about Marcellamoda, visit marcellamodanyc.com.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2020 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy