FREKA - THE STORY OF.
THE STORY OF FREKA - ERGONOMIC FACEWEAR
Freka Co-Founder, Jake, recounts the story of how Freka facewear came to be. Grab your cup of tea, and settle down.
How It All Started: I’ll start from the very beginning- from even before the inception of facewear. I met Alex, the other Co-Founder of Freka, during a short stint in Beijing. And, just like almost everyone else who’s ever been to China, we observed (and participated in) the strange yet necessary daily practice of having to wear a mask to protect ourselves from pollution.
The day that changed the way we saw masks: One day (that began like any other day) Alex and I observed that although pollution is terrible in Beijing and protecting ourselves was a necessity, the only options we had were either surgical face masks, industrial type respirators, uncomfortable designs, or just plain ineffective patterned cloth face masks.
A necessity; worn on the most noticeable part of the body; and yet we were hard pressed to find something that looked good, fit well, and worked well. A necessity, yet always connected with negative associations. Pollution masks were clearly failing to find the optimal balance between aesthetics and functionality. Most of them were highly uncomfortable, with a poor fit causing air-leakage (letting in unfiltered air, and fogging up glasses), humidity, and a lot of my female friends complained it ruined their make-up.
In that moment, we decided we were going to change things.
Some Sisterly Advice: In our naïve excitement, Alex and I spent weeks cooped up in a room developing a prototype. My sister is a fashion editor and I arranged a little meeting with her to share our fabulous end design. She didn’t know about our mission to change the world of masks, and when I showed her our design, I lied to her, telling her the design was a Norwegian brand (don’t ask why Norwegian) that we were thinking of buying wholesale to sell.
She hated it. She said it looked like a pig’s ear. We were dumbstruck, and honestly a bit crushed…
When we revealed what we were doing, my sister said just one thing, and it changed our whole perspective and approach. She told us to think of sunglasses: a prime example of how something moderately functional like spectacles gradually evolved by building on the usability, to become a whole new product category of “eyewear”, and a staple/statement item. Following the face, focusing on the function, naturally gave space for developing aesthetics.
In a split second, this simple yet powerful example gave us the idea for the design approach that now defines us: ergonomics. And this approach gave birth to our new product category: facewear.
What is the innovative spirit, if not the relentless pursuit to create something of value?
Ergonomics: Leaving Behind Masks, Creating the Facewear: All we could think about now ergonomics. I’d like to call it a very healthy obsession. Alex and I moved to London- the heart of innovation and melting pot of diverse expertise, and brought together a small yet passionate team that shared our vision. Together, we were Base6. And together, we were creating the first defining ergonomic facewear, Freka.
The basis of ergonomics- human factors design- is truly understanding every aspect of the user and designing a functional product that interacts naturally with the user for extraordinary comfort. We realised that through ergonomics, not only could we solve the major issues of existing pollution masks, but we could add so much more value.
Honestly, the possibilities are endless! Anything worn on the face should provide basic air filtering. And to go beyond for Freka, we decided to begin with Air-Revitalisation Technology. Humans naturally relax and thrive in fresh, natural environments, which is why we uchose to use the rejuvenating powers of natural Hinoki scent in Freka. We wanted the power of ergonomics to extend beyond the tangible, to the intangible mind.
Cue - months and months of collaborating with experts from all related fields to understand everything we could about the face, breathing, materials, design, etc. Months of prototyping, testing, designing, testing again and again- improving with every step, and not stopping to make any compromises on quality, aesthetics, or functionality.
Finally– we made it. Finally, we have it. Freka, a facewear designed to deliver extraordinary comfort and fresh, revitalising air. It brings together the highest level of uncompromising aesthetics and functionality.
As for moving forward, we’ll continue to push the boundaries to innovate, improve, and distil the essence of ergonomics into everything we do. We’re in love with ergonomics.
Freka is the first product of its kind to receive the renowned iF Design Award, conferred by the iF International Forum Design. Ergonomic facewear designed for comfort and fresh filtered air.
Freka Co-Founder and Designer Frank Borsboom says, “The heart of Freka lies in the principle of ergonomics. By collaborating with a diverse team of experts to study every aspect of the face, we were able to transcend the boundaries of pollution masks. Through human factors design we created facewear.”
Bhoomika Partap, Co-Founder and CMO adds, “We spend so much time on our face, so why should we have to “mask” it? We found that there was no “wearable” item that could comfortably fit and complement the the various face shapes and sizes that exist. And that’s why we created Freka. Why should you mask, when you can wear?
The key defining feature of the facewear is its Core, worn inside a tailored fabric Wing that contours the face. The Core adapts to the shape of the nose and chin, and adjusts to the natural movements of the face. This allows you to comfortably express yourself without causing air-leakage or ruining make-up.
An Internal Ventilation System allows free airflow while achieving a minimalistic aesthetic. Made for the urban dweller, Freka also features air-revitalisation; a filter and Hinoki Vitaliser made from fragrant Japanese Cypress work together to elevate the flow of pure and refreshed air into the body.
Shop Freka facewear here: