Jan 11th 2021

Alumnus Virgil Abloh Designs an Advanced Cloth Face Mask

Designer and College of Architecture alumnus Virgil Abloh (M.ARCH. ’06) has made headlines for his recent work on a particularly effective face mask.

While face masks from fashion designers have become ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic, Abloh’s mask is notable for its purported effectiveness. According Cleveland Clinic, it filters 99.4 percent of air particles. Cleveland Clinic served as a medical partner on the project, along with Suay Sew Shop in Los Angeles, which manufactures the mask. All proceeds from the mask will go to Cleveland Clinic’s own COVID-19 research.

The design consists of non-woven two-ply polypropylene surgical-grade material inside a cloth housing. While that material would typically be discarded after use, the trials at Cleveland Clinic showed it was still effective after 20 washes. To improve fit, the mask also uses a so-called “power mesh” shell fabric as well as a bendable nose strip and drawstring earpieces to help create a tight seal.