Masks As A Luxury Item

Today I have been listening to The World At One on BBC sounds, a recording from yesterdays show in which, amongst other things, the idea of luxury masks has become prevalent. An example cited was the Luis Vuitton Mask that cost £350 and was sold out immediately. It also stated how as soon as masks became mandatory they became an object for self expression to on of political activism and from disposable to desirable. There have been controversies such as the one described in the show in which Boohoo Man pulled a line of masks from shelves as there was a complaint from an NHS nurse that this mask was not protective and it was selling it at a time there was a shortage of PPE for NHS staff. The Nurse in question stated that the it was “disgusting” that “PPE had been turned into a fashion statement that offers no use to the public” (Otter, 2020) This is one of the issues I wish to highlight with my own work and I hope to successfully achieve. 

I was hoping for something more in depth from The World At One but this segment lasted 5 minutes and basically covered what I mentioned above. But it could have gone further with the idea of luxury. The best face masks to prevent the spread of Covid are the N95 masks or the disposable medical masks and for these to work at their best, they have to be replaced every day. There are millions of people however, who cannot afford to replace them each day or even have one in the first place. There are some who cannot afford sanitiser either and so their poverty puts them at greater risk. (Nortajuddin, 2020). To have any mask in the first place, to a lot of people around the world and this country, is in itself a luxury.

I will hopefully soon be flying to Indonesia where many people do not wear masks as they cannot afford to do so and I hope to be able to capture some of this while I am there. I think the idea of a non medical fashion mask is loathsome, especially as it costs a premium and offers no protection to others and I hope my work highlights this further when i round it off with a shoot in Indo, where masks are a privilege  

Here is a link to the current Luis Vuitton mask that is knitted and has no price, the customer has to call to make an inquiry

Otter, S. (2020). Boohoo apologise and discontinue line of fashion face masks after NHS nurse upset. Manchester Evening News.

Nortajuddin, A. (2020). The Struggle To Afford Masks. The Asean Post.

Abrahams, D. (2020). Covid-19 is a disease of poverty. The House.

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