Face masks are a study of form and func­tion

As the world takes cover, pro­tect­ing our­selves and those around us be­comes a study of form and func­tion

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Der­ick Chetty

HU­MANS ARE TRULY two-faced crea­tures. Through­out his­tory, masks have been adopted by var­i­ous cul­tures for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. They’ve played a role in cer­e­mo­nial rit­u­als, bat­tles, re­li­gion, en­ter­tain­ment, sports, fash­ion and in the med­i­cal and sci­en­tific com­mu­ni­ties.

But never be­fore has the world col­lec­tively adopted the mask for a sin­gle cause – the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

De­spite be­com­ing a di­vi­sive is­sue, wear­ing a non-med­i­cal mask should be one of the tools in your arse­nal in the bat­tle to end this pan­demic. The mask should be viewed as an ex­tra layer of pro­tec­tion – since we’ve learned that some peo­ple are asymp­to­matic, wear­ing a mask in pub­lic lim­its the spread of in­fec­tious droplets and pro­tects oth­ers. But face cov­er­ings alone are not enough. Stay the course with the fre­quent wash­ing of hands, avoid­ing touch­ing your mouth, eyes and nose and con­tin­u­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing – all vi­tal mea­sures.

With manda­tory mask laws all but a re­al­ity at press time, buy­ing a re­us­able, wash­able non-med­i­cal cloth mask has never been eas­ier and with an ar­ray

of op­tions. This has paved the way for a bur­geon­ing fab­ric mask in­dus­try as re­tail­ers and de­sign­ers pivot to keep pace with this new musthave. Con­sider a mask not un­like your read­ing glasses. For some in­di­vid­u­als, es­thet­ics will play a part in the de­sign of an item that is dis­played on their faces ev­ery day.

And it’s im­por­tant to note that the read­ily avail­able, stan­dard­is­sue blue face masks typ­i­cally worn in the med­i­cal com­mu­nity are dis­pos­able and should be dis­carded af­ter wear­ing once, as the in­side is ab­sorbent and can col­lect bac­te­ria and mois­ture.

If those types of masks are too clin­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tally un­sus­tain­able for your taste, a creative choice is the per­fect can­vas to con­vey var­i­ous traits – from per­sonal style to cul­tural iden­tity. And like cov­eted ac­ces­sories, some masks have al­ready hit best­seller sta­tus. Af­ter Marc Ja­cobs and Gwyneth Pal­trow posted pics of them­selves wear­ing the fu­tur­is­tic Air­inum mask, the Scan­di­na­vian brand now has a wait­ing list for their pricey multi-lay­ered masks, which claim to fil­ter air pol­lu­tants, bac­te­ria, wild­fire smoke and more.

Karyn Ruiz of Lil­liput Hats is renown for her fan­ci­ful cha­peaus, and her face masks are equally spec­tac­u­lar. Lace print with red rose, $70, lil­liputhats.com

A plas­tic l if face shield hi ld propped d up on a clas­sic ball cap de­sign can be an al­ter­na­tive to a cloth mask for sit­u­a­tions where you need to com­mu­ni­cate with some­one who re­lies on read­ing your lips. Gemelli hat with re­mov­able PVC face cover, $48, shopbop.com

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