This proposal integrates face coverings into everyday garments, with antimicrobial textiles and practical details.
Face masks and PPE pose a two-fold problem of waste over time:
1. Single-use maks are designed to be disposable, creating an enormous influx of daily waste via masks during the Coronavirus pandemic.
2. Reusable cloth masks may lose their practical value to consumers once the pandemic is over, leading to a shortened life cycle for masks where they become no longer useful and/or thrown out.
This proposal aims to solve the problem of prolonged waste via PPE by integrating face coverings into everyday garments, with antimicrobial textiles and practical details.
The hybrid face-covering/garment (concept sketch here), called PPT (personal protective top) and PPS (personal protective scarf) is designed to appear and feel like a typical garment when worn, but with added protection and flexibility for the wearer to adjust the garment over their face as needed. Naturally antimicrobial textiles will be used such as hemp, linen, bamboo or Tencel, or material technologies that embed natural antimicrobial silver into fabric (Source: Cotton Works)
Designing clothing that can act as an extension of a face covering, and vice-versa, can also help solve the following issues:
How can we influence social behaviors around masks and reduce stigma? By designing face coverings to be as easily integrated into everyday clothes as possible. A face covering that is less austere, and rather more comfortable (and enjoyable) to wear can reduce the stigma of wearing a mask.
How can we retain the functionality of masks, but without it looking like a mask? The Personal Protective Top (PPT) features a removable cowl neck-like collar that can adjust over the wearer's face and be adjusted using a drawstring or integrated ties. The removable collar can be worn on its own with other garments, transforming it into the Personal Protective Scarf (PPS) and increasing its functionality. Since the face covering is either attached to a top or worn around one's neck, the risk of contaminating the piece or dropping or losing it (a common gripe with typical face masks) is greatly reduced.
How can we use new materials to make masks easier to wear while exercising? The PPT can be made out of various breathable, antimicrobial textiles. For a lightweight, technical version suitable for exercising, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial fabric such as bamboo or Tencel can be used (Source: Acitvn)
How can material innovation in masks be used to remove nanoparticles? The collar of the PPT can be made using silver wire-embedded cotton, lined with a soft natural textile and feature a filter pocket for added particle filtration. Natural silver-embedded textiles are found to be able to kill certain bacteria within minutes (Source: New Atlas, RMIT University and CSIRO)
Who will take these actions?
- Partnering with a textile company and/or research entity would facilitate obtaining the appropriate textiles with the latest advancements in anti-microbial efficacy.
- I (Sera Ghadaki) would produce prototypes, final samples for production, and patterns for various sizes.
- A local manufacturer will be sourced to produce runs of the garment.
What are the projected costs?
- Fabric (variable cost based on textiles used and willingness for textile partner to offer discounted product)
- Notions (thread, buttons/zippers, or other closures)
- Initial prototypes
- Manufacturer's costs (cutting, sewing, and finishing)
Packaging of final product to consumer:
- Packaging materials
- Hangtags/product description card
Estimated cost to produce one PPT or PPS (based on prior knowledge of material costs and time/cost required to sew similar garments)
Estimated cost to produce one PPT (personal protective top): $25-45
Estimated cost to produce one PPS (personal protective scarf): $17-35
The following timeline projects the process from R&D to final production, after which the product would be ready to purchase.
Research and Development: 1 month
- Testing various prototypes
- Testing materials and material combination for efficacy, comfort, and durability
- Production of final samples and patterns
Initial Production: 2 weeks
- Initial run of products
- Quality Control
Production: 4 weeks
Total projected timeline: 10 weeks
About the author(s)
Sera Ghadaki is a Canadian multi-disciplinary designer based in New York. Initially a self-taught fashion designer, she began making her own clothing at 15 and launched her eponymous brand in 2011. Her passion to impact people through design led her to architecture, and she received her M.Arch from Pratt Institute in 2018.
Her work is inspired by the similarities and tensions between fashion and architecture in unconventional ways - taking fundamental principles of each discipline and incorporating one into the other.
Today, SERA GHADAKI creates made-to-order and limited-run pieces that are genderless, seasonless, and full of unexpected structure. Every collection is a visual narrative that explores connections between art, design, and emerging technologies in a sustainable manner emphasizing natural textiles and custom prints.
SERA GHADAKI has been featured by Vogue, FSHN Unlimited, Fashion Art Toronto, Not Just A Label, and Archinect among others.