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Catching up with the east...wearing masks around the world.

There is no doubt about it, the world is not the same entity it was four months ago. We are in the middle of several worldwide epidemics and it is in these times when we must work together and understand what we need in order to move forward safely and efficiently.

KAPA wanted to take a bit of your time to reflect on the newest accessory flooding the world. With the emergence of the global online markets, every designer was able to get their mask designs up and out. With hundreds of thousands of mask selling since March 2020, we realize that now, even more than before, we will be taking precautions to stay safe and healthy. Until the vaccine and probably beyond, this will be the new normal; social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Masks: the new accessory we are going to have to find a way to make work with every outfit. With color and pattern coordination, this summer our wahine won't wear bikinis, but tri-kinis.

As we proceed as a state into the summer, we here at KAPA are wondering where the actual tradition of wearing surgical masks first came from?

The entire world can now relate to the familiar mask-wearing that was common practice in Japan and China. Has it always been about public health and safety?

KAPA decided to investigate where and why this practice grew, in an attempt to understand what things will look like for us in the West as we go forth with wearing face masks. How will we best include this new accessory into our wardrobes and fashion sense?

Face masks were originally made for medical professionals to wear during operations. Masks help prevent the spread of bacteria, airborne pathogens, and help to protect from any sort of liquid. Once again, medical masks were and are not meant to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne pathogens or viral pathogens. They work more effectively as air filtering respirators, as they are made of non-woven fabric and not cloth. They protect the patient, or those surrounding the wearer of the mask. And in times like these, where viral airborne pathogens run rampant, it's such a simple way to show aloha, to wear your mask when in public areas!

But how did non-medical workers and professionals get their hands on medical masks

and decide to wear them for themselves?

Well in the 1960’s cloth masks were replaced with the type and make of mask we wear today. With all manner of diseases to catch, as well as air pollution from mass industrial developments, it became practical and healthy in Asia to wear medical masks so as to not spread and catch any airborne disease that had previously been exposed to Asia.

Later with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan had to take serious health precautions due to the toxic radiation and nuclear exposure in the air that was blowing across the country; traveling and spreading with each gust of wind. Face masks became absolutely essential and saved thousands from radiation exposure and other medical issues they would have run into had they not breathed through the filtered face masks.

Medical masks, as we can see, have had an effect on the fashion and culture of the youth of Asia. In Korea, Japan and China, face masks have been a medical and practical accessory they have been rocking for years being that Hiroshima happened 75 years ago.

In the 90’s, Westerners caught on to this trend and incorporated the look in our underground rave scenes. Next time on Google, do a 'rave mask' search. We also saw face masks pop up in a few alternative subcultures, such as cyberpunk and steampunk. Wearing a special design on the face mask is still popular and a central part to many outfits and ensembles worn by these subcultures.

I think we can all see the benefits and intelligence of wearing medical masks in large gatherings of people, like a rave or cyber club!

In post Covid-19 times, we will always have to be considerate and conscious about occupying large spaces with large crowds and we will have to be conscientious of our most loved ones until the vaccine comes about.

Medical masks will be ideal for all sorts of our upcoming events, thank goodness its already a well known look in the clubs! That is very important.

As we move forward into the Summer months we encourage you all to stay safe and healthy. Wear your masks until we as a state have built up a group immunity to the Covid-19 virus. We have led the entire nation in social distancing and quarantining. Let's not throw away all the hard work we put into the collective health of us all. As airports are opening up and tourism is slowly flowing back to it's regular pace, hundreds of people a day will visit the islands and spread you know what! So for the sake of us all, let us make our masks as cute as possible, and wear them whenever we interact with all ‘kine strangers in a public places’, especially since cases are slowly rising again.

Overwhelmed with all the mask options? Underwhelmed with your mask selection and access?

Continuously check back for KAPA’s online stories. We will highlight and talk to four local mask makers. Two from Oahu and two from Maui.

Have friends or family been making their own masks? We’d love to see them here at KAPA.

Email us or find us on social media to share the healthy aloha!

Thanks again for checking in with KAPA today, until next time, A hui hou!

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