Face coverings by Hirocoledge
Japanese masuku ('face masks'), or face coverings, have been worn in Japan in public spaces for more than a century for a variety of reasons. Helping wearers reduce the risk of spreading germs, they reflect Japan's social etiquette of prioritising the needs and well-being of others. Considered to be a practical item, the masuku most-commonly worn in Japan are plain white and disposable.
One designer building on this trend is Takahashi Hiroko, contemporary textile artist and founder of design brand Hirocoledge. Takahashi has made face coverings from tenugui (simply woven cotton Japanese hand towels) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping people to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. She makes a range of face coverings that are sustainable and re-usable, saving on the cost and waste that disposable masuku would usually incur, while making them items of fashion with her signature bold geometric patterns.
In July 2020, Takahashi Hiroko is running an online workshop with Japan House. She shows participants how to make their own face coverings from washable cloth, offering a sustainable way for participants to protect others as lockdown continues to ease across the world. More information about this event will be published soon on our What’s On page.
For Japan House's reopening of the Ground Floor in July 2020, staff will wear Hirocoledge face coverings to protect guests and other staff. A range of Hirocoledge tenugui that can be used to make your own face coverings at home will also be on sale at The Shop.