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Sabrina Ehrnstein: Putting their Design Skills to Work with Homemade Masks

by Anna Fofana

(Photo by Sabrina Ehrnstein showcasing one of their colorful masks while on campus)

The pandemic and mandatory mask wearing has brought out the creative side of one Purchase College student.

Sophomore costume design and tech major, Sabrina Ehrnstein, proudly showcases their creative and colorful masks whenever they can as they continue their studies on campus this school year. At the beginning of the pandemic they felt like they were set, in terms of the amount of masks they would have, due to them already having the skill of sewing.

Ehrnstein strongly felt that “One important thing about that pandemic was being safe and having a reliable mask.”

The thing about surgical masks is that they aren’t meant to be reusable or washable unlike a cloth mask. Based on research from ACS Publications website, the effectiveness of masks is based on the amount of layers.The article claimed that a mask with more layers, three being best, is the most effective which most cloth masks have.

For months, they have committed themselves to perfecting their mask designs; making sure they are comfortable, sewed well and for everyone to be able to use and enjoy.

Ehrnstein taught themselves how to sew and design up until college; spending a few years sewing up pieces until they got a few jobs sewing up pieces for children’s theatre.

“Design isn’t exactly something you learn,” said Ehrnestien. “It’s a creative vision that you build upon research, experience, and collaboration.”

Ehrnstein feels like a lot of young people their age can’t say that design is a skill that they have mastered.

“It’s a distinctive trait,” says Ehrnstein.

(photos of Sabrina in their prom dress that they made themselves)

Over the past few months, Ehrnstein has created over 25 masks patterns and continues to make more masks now that they are on campus.

One day they took a look at all of their masks and realized that now they have to work their outfits around the mask design. In addition to that, they have used their skill as a small side business and sell their masks for about $25 each.

Ehrnstein has also reflected what this pandemic means for them when they get into the work field as a costume designer. As of now, they consider their industry to be non-existent and also realized that they are entering into a competition.

As the pandemic rages on, Sabrina thought about what would happen if they were a part of a show that got cancelled or paused because of this pandemic or any future ones. They feel like they would still be able to use their skill, one for the people that they work with, and two it could possibly be an act of service to others who might not have a good mask or facial covering.

Ehrnstein believes that the world is going to be wearing masks for quite a while. However, that doesn’t stop them from continuing to work on their passion of creating.

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