Starting from last year, the World Health Organisation encouraged the use of face masks as a preventive measure against Covid-19, it has now become synonymous with daily life with many governments making mask-wearing mandatory. If you are leaving your house, a face mask leaves with you just like your house keys. With this sudden surge in facial masks usage, factories are finding it difficult to keep up with the global demands and hence, the birth of masks made of cloths.
The fashion industry saw this as an opportunity for their brands to create a new category of accessories and jumped on the bandwagon. However, we should note that designer face masks, as a whole, is not a new phenomenon. For Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2008 collection by Marc Jacobs, the ex-creative director had supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Stepanie Seymour and Natalia Vodianova don black lace LV face masks. More recently, pop superstar Billie Eilish made headlines for wearing an interlocked-G motif Gucci face mask. Apart from megabrands, smaller fashion labels have also debuted their own iterations or even offer tutorials on how to make a face mask at home, such as Collina Strada’s Hillary Taymour.
Recognising the benefits of masking on while going about our daily lives, more companies outside of the fashion industry are producing state-of-the-art face masks that not only could filter out pathogens but also allow the wearer to listen to music. And here, we introduce the Xupermask, designed by Will.i.am and made in conjunction with Honeywell, an industrial manufacturing and engineering company. The rapper and entrepreneur announced that he will bring two versions of a high-tech face mask which will incorporate protection, design and usability into a single product.
“We’ve long past looked at shoes as protective gear, but they’re just cultural items that we go out and buy,” says Will.i.am in an interview with CNBC. “The mask should have the same type of attention to detail, love and care to where you’re not compromising aesthetics for keeping yourself and other people safe.”
Xupermask, which comes in two colourways, is retailing for US$299 and it features LED lights, 3-speed fans and noise-cancelling headphones. Along with each purchase is a three-month supply of HEPA filters, a USB-C charging cable and an extra mask made from fabric.