As face coverings become mandatory in this new reality, designers are working to make protective equipment more wearable and fashion forward as quarantine measures are easing up around the world.
Globally, face masks are not only a sign of public health but are becoming mandatory during the health crisis. Because of this, the future of facial protection and how to provide safe solutions have been discussed. Some are leaning towards the face shield, to prevent the spread of corona virus.
Apple and Nike have started producing face shields. This is also true of emerging designers, who are reimagining the face shield for the luxury fashion market to make personal protective equipment (PPE) wearable. Face shields reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% (when worn by a simulated healthcare worker within 18 inches of a cough).
One designers is Joe Doucet, in New York, who posted a preview of his design on Instagram. It feels existential chic, worn in a similar way to sunglasses yet fully covering the face with semi-transparent shapes. With manufacturing already underway, it might not be long before there’s such a thing as a luxury face shield market.
“There is no precedent for wide adoption of a face shield outside of the medical community. That is why I chose to adapt it to existing behaviors that we engage in when going outside,” explains Doucet. “We put on sunglasses. Think of these as modified sunglasses rather than an adapted face shield.” The “adapted sunglasses” will have an anti-fog coating and made from polycarbonate, the same material as sunglasses. Doucet is working to deliver them at a low price point to reach “as many people as possible”.
Taiwanese designer Yi Fei Chen hopes her face shield design could lower the barrier of acceptance. “Western societies value the individual and the personal expression of it through fashion,” she explains. “The transparency of the proposed face shield is an alternative to minimize the cultural differences in western countries.” Chen factored in face-recognition technologies, like unlocking your phone, when deciding on the transparency of her design.
Chen started designing the shield right after Europe's outbreak. “These masks are used by everyone, not only by the sick, and I just couldn’t figure out why western people seemed reluctant to use masks.” She wants “cultural acceptance” as her first priority, and maximum safety a second step.
Are you ready for post-pandemic fashions, ONTD?