Irish designer Natalie B Coleman on face masks that let you speak, even when your mouth is covered
"It’s a strange time for love..."
For many people, wearing face masks these days is a no brainer. For Natalie B Coleman, designing them is too.
After the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Dublin based designer and NCAD fashion lecturer decided she wanted to create a face covering that was equal parts practical and fun; a welcome break from the dismay and dread that has too often crept into daily life.
"Face masks can sometimes feel a bit threatening, not to mention claustrophobic," she tells Her. "I thought, if we have to wear them I’d like them to be reusable, washable, and a lot of fun.
"It’s about communication too. If your mouth is covered, you can still be saying something through the creativity of my masks."
And Natalie wants to say something fun. Her face masks are 100 percent organic cotton making them a comfortable and practical option - but they're also vibrant and colourful too.
We're living in different times, so Natalie wanted to do something different.
“I wanted to have something a bit feminine and fun. It’s a strange time for the entire world these days, [so] I wanted something a bit lighthearted but with a touch of bling!
“A percentage of the proceeds are going towards Women’s Aid, a charity close to my heart whom I love collaborating with. It’s so difficult for women and children in certain situations at the moment, so it's great to be able to pay it forward."
And Natalie has been doing a lot more than just a little something.
For the past few months, she has been busy navigating working from home with two young children, all the while designing new practical and fun ways that people can keep themselves safe during the pandemic.
"I’m actually really inspired looking at what everybody else is doing," she says.
"I’ve been more productive in the kitchen, I’ve been baking a lot and trying out so many recipes that I would never have had the confidence or time to tackle before.
"During this pandemic, what is key to me is doing things at my own pace with no pressure. We are all dealing with this in our own way and that is the only way to do things! There is no right and no wrong during these times.
"As long as we all support one another, share love and be kind, we can survive and conquer.