Sentletse Diakanyo is a luxury furniture designer based in Johannesburg. He recently posted a prototype of his designer face mask made from leather leftover couch material on Twitter. As you can probably guess, the internet responded.
“No Breathing, Just Vibes”
That’s how one tweet poked fun at Sentletse’s mask design. There were many like it. He, however, doesn’t think his design is a laughing matter. He recently told BuzzFeed News that he created this face mask because people want something different. Since there are always fabric and leather off-cuts from his furniture upholstery business, which are otherwise unusable, he decided it was a smart idea to repurpose them into masks. It was both a good way to optimize his resources and a smart way to meet the current demand.
The Mask Design Is Still in Progress
When he took to Twitter to announce his design, users’ comments backfired. The main concern in all the jokes and feedback he got was just one: what about breathing? Although there were tweets placing the importance of fashion and looking stylish above the simple act of breathing, the question kept coming from all sides. Eventually, Sentletse responded, saying his leather masks will provide ease of breathing as he’s planning to include a filtration fabric layer on the inside.
His leather mask will have a cotton lining and perforation inside, which Sentletse says, will make for much easier breathing as opposed to some cloth masks. And besides, it will soon be winter in South Africa, so it’s not a bad idea to start thinking of face masks to keep people warm.
Masks and Controversy
Sentletse isn’t the only one trying to capitalize on the pandemic. Others have also started selling high-fashion masks that come with hefty price tags. This poses the question of ethics and utility of this practice, but we’re yet to see how things will unfold.