Not even a pandemic can stop hypebeasts from flexing, even if it meant wearing DIY face masks made from actual sneakers.
On Instagram, Urban Athletics reposted photos of sought-after shoe models like the UNDEFEATED x Nike Air Max 97 and adidas Yeezy 700 V3 getting a fitting rework as stylish respirators:
The man behind the ingenious sneaker masks, Beijing-based designer Wang Zhijun, seems to be aware of the renewed interest in his creations and used the spotlight to promote camaraderie in these trying times. In fact, the whole thing started as an advocacy against air pollution in his country.
He wrote two days ago, "If my works could make you to pay more attention, no matter understanding or misunderstanding, like or hate. It doesn’t matter. This time, we — human beings have to face this global incident together, it’s impossible to isolate members from connecting community. To increase public awareness, change each one’s mind and daily behavior is the easiest way. It’s time to face the reality together when it comes, we are living in one community, not divided by difference of appearance."
In a 2016 interview, Wang first thought of repurposing his trainers when the available masks didn't fit amid China's heavy smog.
“I was looking everywhere for a product that suited me,” he told Reuters. “I wanted to see if I could design something for myself to use, something that other people would see, there’s a philosophy there, but it’s also a practical thing.”