“How do we encourage mass adoption of an unwanted necessity?”
That’s the question Joe Doucet posed on Instagram as he introduced his high fashion version of a face shield. His answer: You make it something people are excited to wear.
Doucet, founder of multidisciplinary design studio Joe Doucet x Partners, built upon the basic design of medical face shields to make the product more practical, appealing, and familiar to the general public. Doucet’s face shields do this by doubling as futuristic sunglasses. The entire shield is lightly tinted, but sleek curves separate the portion that runs across the eyes, which has a darker tint. The shield also has stiff arms that go over the ears, so the experience is very similar to putting on a pair of glasses.
While face masks have become required in many parts of the country, face shields are actually more protective because they cover the entire face—better preventing any rogue particles from entering the eyes, nose, or mouth. Doucet hopes that improving the basic design will encourage more people to wear face shields and help everyone adjust to PPE being part of the everyday. While there are only two initial concept images, he told me he envisions an entire line for men, women and children.
Doucet says he has received thousands of emails inquiring about how to purchase the face shields since the design went public last week, and he is currently in talks with four different companies about bringing the product to market.
It’s fairly easy to dismiss high design as frivolity, but in this case, it’s integral to the product’s purpose. “I utilized the tools of design to drive desirability in order to create a ‘want’ to protect ourselves and others,” Doucet explains over email. “All of this while making us feel like we are not living in a dystopian sci-fi film.” PPE will be a part of our lives, and our wardrobes, for a while. Might as well like it.