After all, what are shoes, Will.Im said, but protective devices for the feet? We have just forgotten that they were originally intended because shoes have become a form of self-expression. You cannot, he said, “walk without shoes on a mall or a restaurant or on an airplane”, just as you are not supposed to walk in any of those places without a mask. “But you don’t have to tell anyone to wear shoes,” he said. Therefore, if you can make a mask serve the same purpose (or multipurpose), then you win.
Will.i.am was speaking from his headquarters in Los Angeles via Zoom, a space that houses a soundstage, a recording studio, his “fab lab” (where he makes prototypes) and now, his Exupermask team.
Will.i.am got the idea for Xupermask last March, just before his 45th birthday, when he was filming “The Voice” in the UK (he has been judging the program for 10 years) and the Europe lockdown. I started going “I was worried about not coming to America, and even if I was capable of being on an airplane,” he said. So they called their hardware team and told them to work.
Since helping to find Beats Electronics in 2006, he has been dipping in and out of technology. In 2014, she developed a fashion smartwatch Pulse, And came together in 2016 Fashion earrings You can wear it around your neck like jewels – Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner were ambassadors – but neither product really took off (arguably the market for full wear is not a rocket ship). He does not care. He likes research and development.
“I think L stands for learning, not for loss,” he said.
Now, however, Honeywell may have the strength behind it and there are plans for Exupermask-related collaborations with artists and other brands. (He wouldn’t reveal the name, though he did talk about how much he loved the North Face-Gucci collaboration.) And he really, really doesn’t think the masks are going away any time soon. If recent history is no indication.
“SARS happened in Japan and Southeast Asia, and they climbed on it, and they still wear masks,” he said, the same would be true in the West. Especially since masks have helped limit flu cases. In any case, whatever happens on land, he hopes that the mask on the airplane will be the new norm. “That’s what I’m listening to,” he said.
He must have seemed.