Congratulations to Lily Chapman who has won the Southend YMCA facemask design contest. The competition was part of Southend YMCA’s ‘Find Your Voice’ initiative, which brings together a team of young people and professionals to assist young people in having a voice about issues that concern them. Her design is very innovative and has considerable benefits to the community. It has a clear plastic panel over the area of the mouth to help people with hearing difficulties understand more easily what people are saying.
She also created the cool artwork for the printed cotton. It’s an excellent geometric design in fresh pastel colours. There are triangles split into strips, overlapping circles, ‘L’ shapes with striped shadows and lots more dynamic angular shapes. Lots of people say it reminds them of the sweets called Liquorice Allsorts, which is an interesting comparison.
Congratulations also to the runners-up in the competition. They were Gabriella McCanlis and Nizle Biju. They both entered excellent designs and you can see the designs on the special Southend YMCA website page for the facemask contest. The judge of the competition was Amber Butchart, who is a presenter of the BBC series A Stitch in Time. She is also a fashion historian, so she has lots of experience in choosing the ideal winners of a face mask design competition.
I redrew Lily’s artwork and made it into a repeat pattern in Photoshop so that yards of fabric could be printed to make 100 face masks with it, which will raise funds for the YMCA. Here is a video of me redrawing Lily’s artwork.
Many thanks to Lydia Kovacs for inviting me to work on the project. Lydia is a costume designer & stylist. She has worked on TV commercials starring the world champion Olympian sprinter Usain Bolt. She has also worked on music videos for Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Roger Waters, Sigur Ros, Little Mix and Cheryl Cole. She has a very exciting job! Here is a photo of Lydia wearing a Paisley Prince Songbook face mask that I designed earlier in 2020. Lydia orginally wanted to use the same shape for the winning YMCA face mask but it was not possible to adapt this style to incorporate a clear plastic mouth section.
Althought Lydia was managing the project, Syrie Cox was important in advising and financing the project in her role as CEO of Southend YMCA. Syrie has a big interest in design, which dates back to her time as a very successful fashion designer in the 1980’s. Her fashion designs made a big splash at British Fashion Week and the garments were often seen on TV. Some of her work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum archive.
It’s great that Lily’s design received coverage in the Echo newspaper and the Yellow Advertiser and that there is now a campaign to encourage the manufacturer of facemasks with clear panels incorporated in them. I was very pleased that my name and my brand (Paisley Power) were mentioned in the newspaper articles too. Here is a photo of the printed fabric with Lily’s design. I had the fabric printed in Berlin Germany by Spoonflower printers. The quality of the printing is excellent and the prices are very reasonable.
When I became involved in the project, Syrie and Lydia asked to make a statement about why I offered my services to the project. I wrote: “I’m thrilled to be invited to contribute to the competition. It’s great that the young people of Essex will be inspired to transform the essential face covering into an exciting artistic statement. My experience as a professional textile designer will enable the winning design to be manufactured as a stylish face covering, so everyone can look great and stay safe.”
There has been a great reaction to viewers of Lily’s winning facemask on social media. Ashley Dalton, who lives and works in Southend wrote: “This is fantastic. You can lip read, and see a smile. Really brilliant. Well done Lily.” Susie Mac wrote: “What a brilliant idea. Hopefully the facemask window won’t steam up. I would definitely buy these.”
The face mask competition project was also a success for Syrie Cox, Lydia Kovacs, Amber Butchart and myself (Patrick Moriarty). Syrie Cox thanked me for providing my design services to the contest. She wrote: “A huge thank you to local textile designer Patrick Moriarty for his involvement in our Find Your Voice competition. He has been busy recreating Lily’s winning face-covering design into a bespoke printed fabric”. Lydia also thanked me for my input into the project. She wrote: “Thank you for your contribution, it’s been a lovely project”.
I very much enjoyed contributing to the design contest. It was great to work with such an experienced team. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of people wearing Lily’s innovative face masks in the future. I hope that her idea of incorporating a clear plastic panel into facemasks will be adopted by face mask manufacturers and self-employed face mask makers. This new design, with its ‘mouth window’ will help many people with hearing difficulties to communicate and interact more successfuly during the lockdown period of the Coronavirus pandemic. The benefits will be most appreciated where it is compulsory to wear face masks in many situations such as when traveling on public transport, shopping in supermarkets and using post offices.
Lily’s winning facemask is a wonderful example of combining excellent functional design with stylish artistic form.