From Gowns to Masks This designer keeps her stylish outlook

Ella Pritsker/Photos: David Stuck

Somebody asked Ella Pritsker recently if she missed making wedding gowns.

The designer and president of Ella Pritsker Couture still has some dresses to stitch during this pandemic—but every bridal client of hers has postponed nuptials until next year.

Still, Pritsker, with trademark graciousness, responded, “I’m being creative every day.”

Indeed, she has turned her Timonium-based fashion studio into a corporate mask-making enterprise. Face It With Style is the name of this new venture.

The effort started back in February when a doctor called her and asked her to make reusable masks for his and other area hospitals. Pritsker had been to New York with family earlier that month and returned home with coronavirus symptoms. Feeling grateful as her health improved, she knew she had to do something to help.

“It gave me such a meaningful purpose,” Pritsker says. “I found great solace in sitting down and making a mask.”

Yet, it was important to her that these masks be both “elegant and comfortable.” This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows the upbeat and detail-oriented designer. If a mask has become part of our everyday uniforms, a Pritsker-made mask must make us feel great.

So many masks look like “a bra on someone’s face,” she admits. And that’s not what we need right now as we stare down this pandemic.

In demand

With that outlook, she has sewn up clients like the Ritz Carlton, Falling Rock, a boutique hotel in Pennsylvania, and other companies who wants masks with corporate logos. The logos, she says, are great for corporate branding but also identity. With half our faces covered, a logo can provide important recognition for someone we’ve never met.

“In three weeks, we had created a business, trademarked a website and started securing clients,” she says. “We are moving at an unbelievable speed.”

The “we” is Pritsker and Susan Strassman, a retired Verizon executive and the mother of a former bridal client of Pritsker’s. She saw what Pritsker was doing and dove into help.

The best part of the enterprise? Pritsker knows some of her masks have been worn by mothers in the delivery room. That makes her very proud.

By next year, she will likely be back to a full roster of brides. But this pause in gown production has gotten her thinking about other side hustles for the future, such as a lifestyle brand with yoga mats or bags.

“That yoga bag has been in the back of my mind for so long,” she says. “Now I have an opportunity to bring that to market.”

Originally published in Baltimore Style