No, that is not really a coat made of used Covid-19 masks that Hilaria Baldwin is wearing, but perhaps it could be. The environmentally conscious puffer jacket is certainly fashionable enough to be adopted by trendsetters and social media influencers.
I’m the type of selfish soul who pouts when the barista hands me a paper straw, rather than the sturdier plastic one, to which I’ve been accustomed. So, you’ll rarely see me fretting about saving the planet, but even I have been disgusted by the number of discarded face masks that I’ve been seeing littering the streets these last 18 months. Even if they do not take as disastrous of a toll on our planet as other pollutions do, they still create a lot of waste. On Facebook Laurent Lombard diver and founder of the non-profit organization Opération Mer Propre predicted that “soon we’ll run the risk of having more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean.”
To offer alternatives to masks ending up in the ocean, italian designer Tobia Zambotti and Aleksi Saastamoinen, a Aalto University fashion design student, collected 1500 masks from the streets of Reykjavik, disinfected them with ozone gas and used them as filling in a puffer jacket they named, Coat-19.
It was an innovative, but logical idea. Many disposable masks are made with polyproylene, a thermoplastic used to produce Polyfill, the same stuffing used in down jackets. The designers filled a translucent, water proof outer layer with the masks and some organic cotton wool. The result is that the masks are still visible from the outside.
The coat gives the ubiquitous N95 masks a second lives and memorializes a time in our lives when we were all confronted with the same emergency, but followed different paths in confronting it. This coat represents those who acted to serve more than their own immediate interests. Cheers to those who wore a mask to protect others and to those who disposed of them properly, to protect the planet.
See more pictures in the video below.