These stickers make face masks happier
But the recent cluster in Itaewon-dong, central Seoul, reminded everyone that Covid-19 can flare up at any time. One way to keep up your guard is by wearing a mask — a habit that will be with us for a long time.
The JoongAng Ilbo asked nine Korean designers to partake in its Happy Mask campaign to encourage the wearing of masks in public.
They came up with eight sticker designs conveying the campaign’s motto: “Always wear masks, in a fun way.”
The stickers, each a work of art, can be stuck onto masks to add a pop of color and a cheery message.
Lie Sang Bong, a veteran Korean fashion designer who participated in the project, said, “While masks can be stuffy and block communication, a small sticker stuck on the mask can be a messenger connecting hearts and sending encouragement to cheer each other up.”
The sticker sheets are being distributed for free to subscribers of the JoongAng Ilbo and the Korea JoongAng Daily with Tuesday's paper. They will also be distributed by the Korea Medical Association to medical workers nationwide on the front line of the Covid-19 quarantine effort. They will also be sent to small businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with messages of encouragement.
Ko Tae-yong: Designer Ko Tae-yong’s sticker features the mascot of his fashion brand Beyond Closet, a dog. Ko, who gained popularity for his “I.L.P. (I Love Pet)” T-shirts in 2010 featuring pet dogs, said, “I hope people can laugh out loud when they see a dog wearing a mask and washing his paws.”
Park Youn-hee: Top celebrities like Beyoncé have been seen wearing designer Park Youn-hee’s brand Greedilous. Her sticker features a colorful military uniform motif. She said, “Like BTS’s ARMY [the boy band’s official fan club], it holds the meaning that we should all protect each other in difficult times because of the coronavirus.”
Han Hyun-min: K-pop megastar BTS was featured wearing Han Hyun-min’s menswear brand MÜNN’s in its world tour concert film. “Wearing masks is a promise to people across the world,” he said. “We need to keep our promise in order to overcome Covid-19.”
Lee Chung Chung: Lee Chung Chung of womens wear line LIE is perhaps better known overseas than domestically and says he became more aware of the value of faith following the coronavirus outbreak. “We were impacted as air travel was cut off, but we are overcoming this because the staff held onto their beliefs and hung on,” he said. “If you believe, you will overcome any difficulty.”
Lie Sang Bong: Famed fashion designer Lie Sang Bong, known for his hangul designs, started his own campaign to overcome the coronavirus in January. His sticker design uses his “It’s OK” calligraphy, both in English and Korean lettering, which he also used on T-shirts.
Shin Hye-young: Designer Shin Hye-young of Wnderkammer, a brand worn by K-pop stars Suzy, Hyuna, and Jennie of Blackpink, stresses minimalism. The word “happy” inside a heart with a smiley face is meant to cheer people up.
Seo Byung-mun and Um Ji-na: Designer duo Seo Byung-mun and Um Ji-na of BMUET(TE) portray smiling lips hidden by masks with pink flowers. Seo and Um said that the design “sends a positive energy through a smiling image despite wearing masks.”
Chung Jae-sun: Designer Chung Jae-sun of J. Chung and Taze was inspired by the Monstera deliciosa plant, featured frequently in the paintings of French artist Henri Matisse. “The emergence of the new coronavirus is a result of humans not understanding the environment,” she said. “Seeing the Monstera, which endures in harsh environments, I hope we can consider the environment one more time.”
BY LEE JEONG-BONG, YOO BOO-HYEOK, SEO JI-MYEONG AND KIM NA-HYUN [email@example.com]