You can now find them in all shapes and sizes, in all colours and for every taste. Over the past few months, masks have become part of our daily lives and are now more than ever real fashion accessories. So if you’re fed up with surgical masks, Zhijun Wang has what you need. The independent Chinese designer and artist designs original masks, resembling works of art and made solely from sneakers.
Since 2013, this 38-year-old sneaker-addict has been ruthlessly cutting up our favourite trainers. Jordan, Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Yeezy and Puma: nothing is alien to the artist, who has fun turning each shoe into a mask, with the laces replacing elastic bands. Zhijun Wang has already created over 300 different items, all outdoing each other in the crazy stakes.
His colourful masks, originally designed to fight pollution, are now considered as works of art and are exhibited in the world’s greatest museums, including the MoMa in New York. Zhijun Wang also caused a sensation a few months ago when he transformed the well-known IKEA bags into ultra-fashionable blue and yellow masks (the Swedish brand had turned them into sunhats).
The artist has even been able to win over a few celebrities with his off-the-wall accessories, providing them with their own signature masks. They include the footballers Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, plus the basketball player James Harden, who was spotted on the NBA courts with one of Wang’s creations.
With prices in the $5,000 range, not everyone can afford these masks, and they are not actually recommended against Covid-19, but one thing is sure: these masks really have a (pricey) style.