Designer | May Bar Levav
This new reality that is forced on us dictates our days, changes our behaviors and sets us new challenges. It is precisely now, when we are closed and isolated between the walls of our own houses, together with the entire humankind, that the nature is celebrating.
The ecological crisis and especially the air pollution that accompanies us for decades are now in a significant decline since the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic. On the negative side, an extremely high consumption of disposable products that are being used for dealing with the pandemic causes an enormous amount of polluting garbage. Nonetheless, the common masks that are being used nowadays and are supposed to prevent from contagious particles to move through air are actually made of plastic materials and are manufactured in ways that increase air pollution, isn’t that absurd?
Just until recently, wearing masks and face covers were prevalent only with doctors and certain cultures in the world as for a religious characteristic or a practical medic solution. Nowadays, each and every one of us is obligated to wear a mask in order to fight the pandemic. My hope is that masks will still be used after the pandemic crisis ends as protection from air pollution will still be needed.
In my final project I am working for neutralizing the inconvenient experience of wearing a mask and by that I aspire to transform moving around in the cities into a possible, safe and fashionable experience. I believe that wearing masks and hiding our faces forces us to find new ways of interpersonal communication in order to empower our values and stories. Therefore in my designs, along with textile and knitting techniques, each and every mask will portray one of the many key stories in the era of air pollution increase. Anyone who wears one of these masks will take a part in my own struggle in making the world a better place to breathe in.
In the developing of the products, I put the most effort in using natural materials that are manufactured in sustainable productions and that are healthy to facial skin in a way that fits to all skin kinds. Combined with textile will be three dimensional objects that will be used as a "home" in which a filter is inserted and removed in a way that assures multiple uses in the product. Different kinds of filters can be used for different levels of protection.
I cooperated with LANACO, a company based in New Zealand which supplied filters made of natural sheep wool that stands with the world standard for air pollution protection.