When Andrea Lozano started her luxury facemask business, PILLBOXED, about a year ago, she was looking for a way to make facemasks more appealing.
“When the pandemic was happening, I saw the need for better facemasks,” Lozano says. “Facemasks were everywhere, but they were so uncomfortable, and you had to have them on all the time. And, this sounds silly, but they would ruin my outfits.”
So, she got to work on creating facemasks that would be safe and stylish. She settled on 100-percent silk fabric, which some researchers say is an effective fabric for facemasks due to its breathability, its ability to repel moisture and its comfort for wearers.
PILLBOXED masks are a popular item, available online as a custom order. “Silk is such an expensive fabric, I don’t produce just to produce,” Lozano explains.
Though the facemasks are a popular item, PILLBOXED has branched out in its offerings. The company now offers silk dresses in a variety of colors and styles; however, those are also custom-made for each client. The luxurious items fit in line with Lozano’s aesthetic. She is inspired by the polished, elegant style of people such as Jackie Kennedy and Ava Gardner. “One of my main inspirations is femininity of a woman’s figure. I also like the 1950s and 1960s, when all the girls would wear skirts and gloves – I am enchanted by that style.”
Lozano says she’s not a trained designer – she did take a sewing class last year – but says that should not stop people from trying their hand at designing clothing. “A lot of people think that in order to design, you have to be a pro at drawing, and that’s not true.”
She works with a team of seamstresses who can bring her ideas and designs to life. But finding the right team wasn’t easy, which is why Lozano says she wants to help fill a void in the El Paso manufacturing community.
“The Borderland is such a huge place for manufacturing, but you tend to see only huge maquilas; but it’s all international companies,” Lozano says. “When I started doing this, I had to build it from scratch because I couldn’t find anyone here who could do a pattern for me on a large scale.”
So, she created her own network of tailors that understood her vision and who could work with a small company. Lozano wants to build PILLBOXED further, but she wants to bring others in the Sun City along for the ride.
“That’s why the next step is offering that systematic manufacturing where it would be available in small batches to small businesses,” Lozano says.