Wearing a mask is the new norm, and it’s transformed into a movement, culture, and fashion statement in less than six months. There are many types of masks on offer: with filters, unfiltered, different patterns and fabrics, as well as disposable and reusable masks.
When it comes to the specifics, there are N95 masks, mostly worn by healthcare professionals. These masks are made to filter 95 percent of airborne particles, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend that the general public wear these so there is a greater supply for healthcare workers.
The CDC recommends wearing masks with two or more layers for maximum protection. Wear it over the mouth and nose and secure it under the chin. Make sure the fabric is wearable and washable and fits snugly against your face without gaps.
Grace McLain’s senior fashion design major has her own fashion line and makes and sells masks to raise money for her senior BFA collection. McLain is also vice president of Kent’s Fashion Student Organization (FSO), as well as social media manager for Drawn2Style.
““I needed to find a different way to raise money for my senior collection, but also because there was clearly a great need for masks,” said McLain. “Because many people know I sew, they ask if I can make it [masks] before I even started selling on my Instagram. It was mostly a request as well as a grant for my senior collection. “
McLain’s fashion Instagram account, @gksbydesign, features clothes, clothing collections, masks and more. He said he appreciates that a mask can also help beautify the look.
“Since I make my own masks, I can go to Jo-Ann’s and choose whatever type of fabric I think suits my aesthetic and the clothes I have,” says McLain. “It can be a real accent for an outfit or pulling things together, if I wear pink shoes and a pink mask, but black clothes, things fit better that way.”
Associate fashion design professor Sue Yoder said that while masks are a continuing trend, it is important to focus on the functionality of the masks themselves.
“There are different approaches to mask design and production,” said Yoder. “If you’re only developing cloth masks, you can purposely use some leftover fabric from making clothes. And of course cloth masks can be reused. I also expect a lot of experimentation and discovery in terms of new materials, craft techniques and fabrication. “
Tamara Cullen, a part-time professor of fashion design and merchandising, says that the best way to use masks to support the fashion industry and sustainability is to use reusable masks.
“I think if it’s made in a way that doesn’t waste cloth, I think it’s safer but making it so cheap that it can be thrown away or considered disposable is the wrong way to do it, “said Cullen.” I’ve seen a lot of things like that, you. can see masks on the street, in trash cans and I understand that it’s cheaper to do that and you make millions, but we fill the trash with them. “
Although mass production is cheaper and easier for people during a pandemic, it is not the best option in the long run.
“I understand we are experiencing a pandemic so maybe sometimes people feel that delaying sustainability so we can survive and can do it later is a good idea but I question it,” said Cullen. “I feel like a cloth mask is the right choice because you can wash it. I really don’t like the idea of throwing it out and all that used plastic and all, it just goes into the trash. “
Kaitlyn Finchler is a photo editor. Call him on [email protected].
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Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, senior journalism student from Toledo. I am also the editor-in-chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hardworking journalists. Although we have support from student media fees and income generated such as advertising, both continue to decline. Your generous gifts of any kind will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please come here to donate.