Modern Tech For The Modern World Is how the XUPERMASK describes itself. Will.i.am, the futurist and founder of this face mask, music producer, songwriter, singer, and entrepreneur, has conjured a creation a bit more practical than his choice of performative couture. With the help of costume designer Jose Fernandez, the XUPERMASK is the solution to the everyday struggles of face masks.
The $299 face mask, which is launching with two versions, is aimed to reshape how we interact with one another when wearing a mask and how the mask interacts with the wearer. XUPERMASK elevates the face mask to a place where sneakers are, living on shelves as sought-after necessities.
Simply, due to circumstances, we need to wear masks like we’ve been wearing shoes all our lives. Will states, “We’ve long past looked at shoes as protective gear, but they’re just cultural items that we go out and buy,” to the host of CNBC’s Mad Money, Jim Cramer.
Will.i.am teamed up with Honeywell, an industrial manufacturing and engineering company, on the industrial design of the face mask. Jose Fernandez, who has done costume for films such as Batman and X-Men, specifically working with the mask on Spiderman, Tron and the Black Panther characters, and sculpture work for the cult-classic Gremlins, has also costumed Will and his band Black Eyed Peas back in 2011 for Super Bowl XLV. With Honeywell, Will, and Jose, found the right medium between tech and wearability, fashion and function.
XUPERMASK has some features that even your latest smartwatch can be jealous of. This tech device, which is also a fashion statement, comes with a complimentary XUPERKIT, with gear that adds convenience to the design. The kit contains a carrying case, a three-month supply of HEPA filters, a USB-C charging cable, and an extra mask made from fabric.
Other features of the XUPERMASK include LED lights, 3-speed fans, Bluetooth 5.0, magnetic earbud docking station, noise-canceling headphones, and a noise-reducing microphone. The elastic strap and buckle come in two colorways, adding fashion to its function.
Will.i.am feels like this is the direction society is moving toward. He imagines a world that embraces the experienced changes of modern living with the evolution of man. “When the pandemic broke out, it quickly became clear that masks were going to be a new must-wear item, like shoes or a jacket when it’s cold outside,” Will says. “It’s about common-sense public safety.”
With safety came some of fashion’s most hyped goods, like, sneakers. “We’ve long [since] looked at shoes as protective gear, but they’re just cultural items that we go out and buy,” Will told CNBC’s, Jim Cramer. Will.i.am has also been aware of the global face mask-wearing culture, particularly in Japan. Japanese people have worn face masks for years now because of previous epidemics, like Sars, and general air quality drifting from factories in China.
If the call for fashion hasn’t been answered with the XUPERMASK, it will be hard to compete for style points as well as achieving practicality among the face mask-wearing issues. “Rather than looking “medical,” regular people wanted to keep safe and also try to look a bit styling, a nod to being fashionable and functional,” says Will.i.am.
He sums it up as “From a functionality standpoint, masks have their issues. Your eyeglasses fog up. Masks are hot and stuffy. Talking on your phone is muffled. Your earpods get dislodged or tangled up. And what do you do to avoid contamination when you must take it off to eat or drink while out in public?” XUPERMASK is launching in the U.S., Canada, UK, and EU on April 8, 2021.