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Beyond masks

My Take | May 11, 2020 | By:

by Janet Preus

Did you ever imagine that you would wear a mask every single time you stepped out of your house or apartment? Every single time you might interact with people other than the ones at your supper table or on your living room sofa?

I still don’t own a reusable mask. My children offered to send some (they’re busy) and a friend is making one for me—with a pocket for filter material. Meanwhile, my stash of inexpensive disposables I use raking the lawn and hauling brush is holding out pretty well. But I don’t go anywhere. 

I could fill every single Advanced Textiles Source newsletter with nothing but stories about masks. This is not a bad thing. We need all the masks we can get, whether they are homemade, high tech, or leftovers from yard work. But there are other stories to talk about—not totally unrelatable—stories about materials, products and technologies that go beyond the current crisis and into the ways that we will need to protect ourselves, even when there isn’t a pandemic. 

Our new feature, “Novel fabric structures,” illustrates how the industry is finding inventive new ways to address issues that have been around for a very long time: protecting our heads from impact, healing following throat cancer and controlling tremors. These are just three examples of exciting new work being done in protective products, although they have nothing, per se, to do with the PPE that continues to be important in today’s news. 

We’ll keep covering The Story for as long as it takes, but there is other news, and I promise you I will find it and share it with you. Please feel free to send me your news stories, too—pandemic related or not. You’ve heard it dozens of times (at least) by now, but it’s absolutely true: we are all in this together. Sharing information is one way we can stay on top of the developing stories, and be better prepared to go from sheltering, to recovering, to new growth. 

Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at

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