Coat-19 + Boots-19*
The puffer jacket + boots filled with single-use masks collected from the streets that highlights the absurd pandemic-related pollution
*handcrafted by Aleksi Saastamoinen
The forerunner project of this sustainable design endeavor is Couch-19 - the iceberg-shaped modular pouf made with over 10.000 single-use masks collected from the streets of my hometown in northern Italy during the second wave of Covid on December 2020. The project successfully sent its first message around the world due to its important media coverage, calling out the harmful environmental effects of facemasks pollution and urging people to take action.
To keep the momentum of the message going while also show a tangible example of what could be done with the (toxic) waste, I decided to partner up with Aleksi Saastamoinen - a Finnish fashion designer/photography artist based in Helsinki, and challenged him to come up with an impactful design that would further emphasize the extent of the environmental problem caused by the single-use masks pollution. Turning the infamous emblem of the pandemic into a striking fashion/environmental statement.
I collected another 1.500 light-blue masks collected around the streets of Reykjavík, thoroughly disinfected with ozone gas then shipped to Helsinki where Aleksi began crafting the puffer jacket, giving it an opulent and forward-looking shape in order to sensitize people to the pandemic-related pollution and highlight its magnitude. The deliberately oversized and exaggerated silhouette allowed for a large number of facemasks to be repurposed as an unusual stuffing for the coat. The semi-transparent material was chosen to let the distinctive "pandemic blue" filling show through, yet frosted to make it look like it had already been worn by the elements. Meant as a beacon leading towards creative solutions for this environmental issue, aftermath of this worldwide pandemic.
The natural continuation of the project, also following an experimental research on the material, blending cohesively this environment-friendly design mission. The boots have been handcrafted in Helsinki by Aleksi who wanted to keep a strong visual connection with Coat-19 and successfully blend it with the contrasting soles I realized by melting the mask’s production waste material. The two elements seem to contradict each other, both made from the same raw material but treated in a different vein. The top seems futuristic and brand new then turns into this organic and corroded sole. Again alluding to the damage these caused to the environment when left on the ground. The balanced result of this contrasting design is a boot shaped like it is meant to resist extreme conditions.
Handcrafted by Aleksi Saastamoinen (@aleksisaas)
Pictures: Luca Ranghetti (@lucaranghettifotografo), Patrik Ontkovic (@ontkvc)
Models: Lorenzo Sabbatani (@tratarana), DigitalSigga (@digitalsigga)
Coat-19 materials: Discarded disposable masks | Recycled transparent laminate fabric | Organic cotton wool filling
Boots-19 materials: Facemasks production waste | Recycled transparent laminate fabric | Melted masks (soles)
Coat-19 | September 2021
Boots-19 | May 2022