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Fashion Forward Handmade Masks by Atelier Piras

Atelier Sebastiana Piras, owner of Atelier Piras on Elmwood Avenue, has refocused her efforts to making masks to help protect people from the COVID-19 virus. Piras started to make the 100% cotton and machine washable masks when her sister, who lives in Italy, advised her that it would be prudent. Piras began to make the masks inside her temporarily shuttered shop, across the street from The Lexington-Co-op on Elmwood.

Not only did she put together an eye-catching display in her storefront window, that managed to draw some immediate attention, she also began taking orders by phone, and online. Piras told me that her customers prepay for their orders, and then come to pick up the masks at the shop, while minding safety precautions to avoid any direct contact.

A little background on Piras, who has been making her mark on the Buffalo fashion scene since first moving to this city in 1993. When she was younger, she caught the fashion bug from her mother. Years later, she began making clothing for her mother, who always loved dressing up. Piras has also tried her hand at hat making and interior decorating.

Now, she is focusing all of her efforts on making masks that not only help to protect people from the airborne virus, they are also fashion forward. Heck, just because people should be wearing masks does not mean they can’t be uplifting and aesthetically pleasing. And now with First Lady Melania Trump wearing a cloth face mask, demonstrating recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no doubt that more and more people will be following suit, especially if there’s an added design element.

Due to the popular demand of these fashionable masks, Piras has been busy sourcing as many design swatches as possible, to give customers plenty of selections to choose from. Since they are all constructed by hand, Piras is making a lot of “one offs” to make them as unique as possible. “I have classic for men’s business look, casual, and flowers for the ladies!”

Customers can choose from tie and elastic straps, and men’s and ladies’ sizes. Each mask sells for $10, which is very reasonable, especially since they are reusable (machine washable). That means that they are also better for the environment.

Anyone looking to get ahold of these fashionable masks can contact Sebastiana Piras at 716.332.6935, visit her Facebook page, or take a gander at her storefront window at 820 Elmwood Avenue when passing by. 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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