Designer Alberto Ravelo Makes Masks from Donated Materials

Designer Alberto Ravelo Makes Masks from Donated Materials

The designer says he wanted to do his part, and he has done so bymaking masks to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus | https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/04/20/miami-fashion-designer-makes-masks-to-fight-coronavirus/ |that causes Covid-19.
Ravelo explains that for him, a sense of shared social responsibility was the chief motivating factor:
“I was motivated to make them because of the social responsibility that we have to stop this crisis, because of the shortage of masks that currently exist and to educate society on how to protect themselves with the resources that we have at our disposal,” Ravelo said in an interview | https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/04/20/miami-fashion-designer-makes-masks-to-fight-coronavirus/ |.
But not only does Ravelo create masks, he does so using materials that people have donated to him. For example, he has made masks from sheets, t-shirts, and other cloth. Donated materials might raise concerns about cleanliness and hygiene, but Ravelo takes precautions and urges others to do the same:
“The donations arrive washed and I hygienically handle them at home on clean surfaces and I am constantly washing my hands, but I recommend that people who receive them wash them before wearing them.”
Ravelo’s project is about social responsibility, but he also began it for the purpose of helping A Zero Waste Culture, a non-profit dedicated to helping the fight against climate change. A Zero Waste Culture is planning to help him donate the masks.
These simple but beautiful cloth masks are not the same as the N95 masks and other surgical masks that healthcare workers use to combat the spread of Covid-19 in hospital wards. Some of those masks, the N95 in particular, are optimized to limit the spread of viral particles.
The N95 masks are particularly prized because they can block up to 95% of the particles in the air, greatly limiting the risk to healthcare workers that they might contract the novel coronavirus and pass it on.
However, the CDC recommends that these masks be reserved for healthcare workers and other emergency medical staff. In particular, they should be used by people who are working with known or suspected Covid-19 patients.
Although many fashion labels have joined the fight to help make masks | https://www.synzenbe.com/blog/major-fashion-labels-join-fight-against-covid-19-997/997 | to fight the spread of Covid-19 | https://www.synzenbe.com/blog/covid-19-couture-10-fashion-brands-that-are-making-face-masks-1001/1001 |, the supply of the N95 masks and other high-quality surgical masks is very limited. For this reason, authorities recommend that even healthcare workers limit the use of these masks for the most serious situations, rather than using them for everything.
The reality is that this still leaves many situations in which healthcare workers might be working with lower-risk patients. And other people also want masks for going about town.
This is where masks such as the ones Alberto Ravelo is creating come into their own. They can still help to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus and the Covid-19 disease by preventing the wearer from exhaling water droplets that may carry the virus.
In fact, Ravelo makes his masks with a pocket designed to admit a filter. Depending on the type of filter used, the masks have the potential to offer protection to the wearer as well as to other people from the wearer. As Ravelo explains:
“A filter is required to make the masks more effective, even though the fabric is double-layered. I am also using more elegant cloths to make them more beautiful and to make them into a fashionable item. I have created a design where everyone can draw or put a message they want (onto the masks), converting them into a medium of social expression.”
The pocket with filter design is a new approach to mask design. Long before the coronavirus outbreak, experts were criticizing the design of the N95 masks and many other surgical masks. The masks are not biomechanically well-suited to staying on the human face properly: they tend to pucker at the cheeks, creating gaps, and they are prone to creeping down the nose as the wearer talks or yawns.
Another problem with N95 masks in particular is that they are not very breathable, and healthcare workers have traditionally avoided wearing them if possible.
The advantage of the approach taken by Ravelo and many other designers is that it splits the problems of the biomechanics of the mask on the human face and the filtration ability into two problems. This has allowed designers to focus on creating masks that are optimally flexible, well-suited to staying on the human face. By creating pockets for filters, they also address the filtration/protection problem.
Ravelo and A Zero Waste Culture will be donating many of the masks. However, Ravelo is also taking orders for them through his Facebook and Instagram. Customers have the ability to choose their design and even their materials – from the materials that Ravelo has available, of course.
For Ravelo, the function of the masks is to educate and raise awareness as well as to please the wearer and offer some measure of protection. He also says the prices are modest and he will not profit from the sale of his masks.
He is hoping to offer them as a channel for people’s self-expression, thus the option for customers to choose their own materials. They can even draw or put a message onto the masks, turning them into a medium of social expression as well.
Long before the Covid-19 crisis, Ravelo was putting his creativity to work in the fashion and design world. He has 18 years of experience as a creative designer and pattern maker in fashion.
Additionally, Ravelo has worked in clothing manufacturing and in printed textile and graphic design. He has also done embroidery. He now works as a designer for Fashionate, a women’s clothing label based in New Delhi, as well as for artisanal lifestyle brand Caravana – known for its work preserving ancient Mexican artisan techniques.
Ravelo also collaborates with the Miami-based brand Romana La Rue, working as a design assistant. He has even been an adjunct professor at the Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade College since 2016.

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