May 08, 2020
It looks like face masks are becoming part of our everyday life for a while now. Many European countries are advising or even obligating people to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Public transport, super markets, offices… and seemingly when the borders will open, masks will be an essential part of the international travelling wardrobe.
The journey of creating TAUKO’s first (and hopefully the last) face mask made us familiar with the extensive amount of writings, videos, professional and user opinions and researches of the cloth masks. The Wave face mask was created to comment and respond to the current situation we are living in.
We started our research journey for the mask design and production at the very beginning phase of the corona times. Going through tons of different articles and testing different DIY designs, we came up with the Wave face mask -design.
The most important parts of the design are: protection, style and comfort.
Choosing the right materials: breathable and protective
Having a cloth covering the nose and the mouth makes breathing heavier. This is something that is inevitable and a challenge for the usage of a cloth face mask.
Our goal was to use materials that make the breathing with the mask as easy as possible and still having the sufficient protection of the cloth. We chose tightly woven cotton that has already been used: there is less cotton “dust” getting off from the fabric as it has been washed already several times. Cotton takes in a lot of moisture that is created when breathing and therefore captures also the droplets that are said to spread the virus. As a natural fibre, cotton is also easier to breath through than synthetic fibres.
The more layers there are, the more protection you’ll have. This is why the mask is made from double fabric and there is a pocket for an extra filter. By adding an extra filter, made for example from a paper kitchen towel, and adjusting the mask snuggly on your face, the mask gives a protection that is recommended for German healthcare personnel (read more HERE).
The mask is fully designed and made from reused textiles. As with all our production, with the masks as well, we want to reuse textiles to give them a second lifecycle.
Challenge taken: designing something we thought we never would
Big part of our communication is based on our facial expressions and covering half of the face is a radical act. This is one of the main reasons we found the mask design process very challenging, not to underestimate the fact that we never did anything similar before!
Within the design process we went through the different motives of covering parts of the face in fashion: from bike couriers in New York and mask fashion of Korea to the guerillas of Mexico and the religious face and hair cover items. And of course the medical masks were examined thoroughly. After different scarf and DIY mask experimentations and prototyping we decided on pleated mask design that aligns the natural shape of the face and is as light as possible. With different colour variations we wanted to offer some playfulness in the design yet making it something you can wear everyday.
Snug fit is essential for having the protection and this is why we added a metal band on the nose. The embedded metal band bends for a snug, custom fit and reduces eyewear fogging.
During the time that face masks will be part of everyday life, we will see the development of the mask designs. It is interesting to see if the masks we will wear in a year will look like the ones that are popping up on the street scene now.
Making it yours - comfort
What we have learned by now, is that only items that feel comfortable are worn extensively. And like it or not, a face mask is something that should be worn extensively.
To guarantee the comfort of the Wave face mask, it was designed specifically for customization. Alternative ways to tie the mask help everyone to find the optimal way to wear it.
Loops behind the ears
This is the most popular way of wearing a mask as it is very easy to take on and off. For some this might feel as too much of a pull behind the ears
Tie-back with two loops
For many, this is the most comfortable way of wearing the mask. When you have found the right tightness of the ties, you can leave the knots and you don’t have to tie every time all over again. The down side of the tie-back is that you have the mask ties over your head and it might mess up your hair. It is also slightly more effort to put it on compared to the other two options.
Tie back behind the ears
The third option is a combination of the two others. You end up having only one loop over the head which is quite nice. Some might find this also irritating as having a loop behind the ears creates pull.
For more information about you can read these articles:
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Text: Mila Moisio
Photos: Till Bovermann
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