People have been getting creative with fun or more effective face masks these days, but imagine quite literally wearing someone else’s face as a mask.
Shuhei Okawara is a Japanese designer who works running a mask and theatrical accessories shop located in Tokyo called Kamenya Omote. Unlike the traditional 2020-21 face mask, Okawara’s newly created masks aren’t designed to protect against pollution, viruses, or sickness. These masks are intended for fun and cosplay.
What’s so special about these masks anway? It’s the fact that they resemble real faces so well that it’s often difficult to figure out whether the wearer is wearing a mask or not. In October, Okawara requested anonymous Japanese individuals to offer their facial features to recreate into a mask. The 100 individuals each received 40,000 yen (or $386) for their contributions to this project.
Every participant sent him a picture of their face. An artisan then worked to modify, retouch, and 3D print into a mask like the one featured above. These masks are expected to go on sale early this year for 98,000 yen each (or $946) in Okawara’s shop. Okawara is confident in the potential his product has in the market and hopes to expand this project to include faces that aren’t solely of Japanese people as well.
Okawara also told Reuters that:
“As is often the case with customers of my shop, there are not so many people who buy (face masks) for specific purposes. Most see them as art pieces.”
My Thoughts On This Innovation
The idea behind the masks is definitely awe-inspiring. Some things are just so creepy that they’re cool — like the spooky innovations I covered in my Halloween article just a few months ago.
While the concept behind these masks may seem dark and intimidating at first, I think that customers will be pleased with the way that these have turned out. Who doesn’t want to be someone else for a day? I talk about how 3D printing offers customizability in many of my articles and you definitely can’t get more custom made than getting a mask designed with someone’s face.
Like Osawara, I agree that these masks don’t have any specific purpose other than cosplay, but they could become a huge hit in the cinema industry. For example, stunt doubles could more accurately resemble their counterparts. I believe that even if these masks weren’t made with any purpose in mind, this technology has the potential to be used for various different applications. And of course, most importantly, they do look fun to play around with as well.