The Early Stages
When the pandemic first took place, it was a hectic flow of uncertainty and fear of contracting the coronavirus. During this time, masks were directed to be worn by all members when leaving their house and entering buildings outside the home. I remember being quarantined at home and told not to leave the house unless it was for essential travel but that if the travel was essential then to wear a mask as a protection from the germs and to help stop the spread of the virus. I was sitting on my couch when the news broadcasted that these new face coverings were about to be stapled in everyday wear for, they were required to be worn in all businesses. When we first found out about having to wear these face masks, I had very mixed emotions. For these were seen as something that could protect us from the virus, but I questioned whether these face coverings were actually helping, as every day I would watch the news to see what stores had cases of corona and how people were still contracting the virus even with wearing a mask. This is how I spent most of my days, I didn’t leave my house for the first month or so and had no interest in leaving other than to go for walks around the neighborhood at night. When I finally decided it was time to wear a mask and get out of the house, this was around the middle of April. It was either leave the house and join civilization or I was convinced that my brain was going to make me go insane by having the same people interactions every day.
Leaving the House
Upon leaving the house, I wore a blue medical mask, one that my dad had brought home a box of from being an essential worker. Truly, the only mask at the time I thought would prevent me from catching the virus because was the same mask that medical professionals were wearing. This was around the time that my neighbor was making masks and distributing them to the neighbors, but I connived that these masks were not going to actually protect me from the germs. It was a wonderfully made mask with multiple layers, but the fear distilled inside me prevented me from ever wearing the mask. However, it is interesting to see the change in the masks that I went from wearing at the start of the pandemic to now. I went from being so paranoid that I would only wear the blue medical masks for months of the virus. I even came to school in the fall not owning a single reusable mask. My parents loaded me up with boxes on boxes of those little blue face masks. While I did wear them for a long time, I started to see more people wearing the reusable masks and not contracting the virus, my apartment roommates had never even worn one of the medical masks and only wore reusable ones.
The Reusable Mask
As more brands came out with a variety of different designs and face coverings, I decided it was time to finally buy reusable masks. The first reusable masks I bought were 3 packs of the Athleta activewear face masks. I was amazed at all the different colors these masks came in and read great reviews on how comfortable they were. Being someone who is always active, I wanted a mask I would be able to breathe in and continue to be active while wearing. I wore these masks for the majority of the fall semester, buying new ones periodically but sticking to this brand or wearing the blue disposable medical masks. It was not until this semester that I chose to venture out and buy from a beloved brand different than Athleta and chose to invest in the Lululemon workout face masks.
The Lululemon Mask
The double strap face masks came in a pack of three and retained for $28 from the website. I wanted something that wasn’t going to constantly fall down while I was talking or working out and these did just the trick by having the loops that go completely around the head and neck. The material of the mask is similar to the rest of the workout clothing line material, the body of the mask being 56% nylon, 44% lycra elastane and the straps being 91% nylon and 9% elastane. The color of my mask being shown is a black camo mask, with alternating shades of blacks to create the camouflage pattern. The mask also has the logo of the company as a reflective silver print on the left side corner of the outside of the mask. The mask was created by the Lululemon brand yet was not something that the company offered until after the pandemic had taken place. This object was made for the pandemic and created solely as a marketing tool to show that face masks should be worn by all customers shopping within the stores. While the purpose of the object is to completely cover the mouth and nose, while wrapping around the face for more of an air-tight feel, preventing the germs from entering or leaving the mask. The object is factory-made and one that is created in a large quantity to be mass distributed. The stitching of the mask going down the bridge of the nose and mouth, then around the edges of the mask to keep it on tight. While the straps also being adjustable for the purpose of having a size that fits all, while also having a stretch to the material that moves with the mouth. While most face masks have the metal bar at the top of the mask to keep the nose piece up on the face, this mask however does not have any metal or plastic bar built into the nose. Instead, the mask seamlessly wraps around the face and the strap that is shorter is meant to go around the neck, this is how the orientation of the mask is determined. The object is also part of a group of masks that the company has come out with, these being the original face masks but the company coming out with another face mask more recently since the pandemic has started. What makes this mask unique is the matter of how it is able to be worn while still being active, the effect that the mask is not being worn while still having to wear the mask for as to how skin like the mask feels on the body. This mask would be one that sparks the eye of other mask wearers and creates a conversation for the unique design and sleek material.