Detroit designer creates realistic face-sucking 'Alien' coronavirus mask

Apr 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm
click to enlarge “Listen to me. If we break quarantine, we could all die.” - Bethany Shorb
Bethany Shorb
“Listen to me. If we break quarantine, we could all die.”

If you're like us, you've used some of your, uh, newfound downtime to play a game where you are inevitably always in debt and do nothing but conduct hard labor for a family of Japanese raccoon dogs, re-binge The Office (U.S., duh), or, perhaps, revisit cinematic classics about being quarantined in space, like 1979's sci-fi masterpiece and a masterclass in practical effects, Alien.

The Ridley Scott-directed film starring an untouchable Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, a fucking badass, cat-saving hero who is on a space mission with six other compatriots. The team finds themselves aboard a mysterious vessel that just so happens to be an alien breeding ground — and that's when the gruesome stomach-ripping, face-gripping madness ensues.

One Detroit designer is paying homage to one of the most celebrated scenes in sci-fi with an Alien-themed coronavirus mask that's guaranteed to keep people at least six feet away from you.

Bethany Shorb of Well Done Goods, a brick-and-mortar sister to Cyberoptix TieLab which opened in Eastern Market in 2016, has been getting creative in the last few weeks. While Well Done Good specializes in handcrafted graphic clothing, most of which is Detroit-centric, Shorb has been churning out some show-stopping coronavirus protective gear, like her effective “Stay back 6 feet” bandana, a series of colorful masks featuring prints of synthesizers, or a The Shining-inspired covering. Her latest creation, however, is lovingly called “the face-hugger.

“I'm a sci-fi nerd, probably more sci-fi than horror, but all manner of nerdy, enthusiast themes are what we did before this whole nonsense, so it seemed to make sense to pivot there and make all the fandom set happy to wear a mask that doesn't suck or sucks your face,” Shorb says of her Alien design, which runs $30. The tail appendage is an optional add-on.

The hand-sewn mask is made from fabric printed in-house, fits close to the face, and is machine washable. The interior is made from soft bamboo, the same fabric used in Shorb's scarves.

Shorb says she hasn't had much time to binge-watch much of anything since the stay-at-home order was implemented, restricting the operations of retail businesses deemed non-essential. Currently, Well Done Goods is offering curbside service. While Shorb says she would love to greet people, she says she has to keep the online store stocked so “her team has something to come back to,” reminding us of sage advice from Alien's heroine, Ripley: “Listen to me. If we break quarantine, we could all die.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.