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Got Masks? Here’s What to Do With Them.

  • May 08, 2021

The fashion designer Christian Siriano said his company produced nearly three million masks. It was key, he noted, that the masks be reusable. “I think the amount of disposable product out there right now is unbelievable,” he said.

Students, too, contributed to the effort. Hannah Conradt, a senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology, had been sketching a wedding dress for a class project when the pandemic hit. “I lost all motivation to make a dress no one would wear,” Ms. Conradt said. “It felt so frivolous.”

So she started making masks from fabric scraps, which she shared with friends, family and her mail carrier. (“I’m a fast sewer,” she said.) When she returned to the wedding dress design, she added a very 2020 twist: a skirt formed by 50 masks on a cage crinoline base, which could be removed and worn if needed.

Now, in response to the surge in mask waste, many designers and artists are finding their own ways to upcycle cloth and single-use masks.

Clarisse Merlet, an architect and the C.E.O. of the Parisian company FabBRICK, has found a way to upcycle textiles, including fabric masks, into colorful, decorative bricks that can be used to create furniture, lamps, acoustic panels and wall partitions. “I never imagined that I would use masks in my designs,” Ms. Merlet said.

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