One World Mask

Alumni in Action

Hi, my name is Ellie Cotlar. I am an alumnus of the MA in sustainable design program (MASD 2018). One of the many things that I learned while attending Minneapolis College of Art and Design was to embrace chaos as it is an important catalyst for change.

Through observing nature we find that equilibrium actually equals death! Those ideas ring very true during this COVID-19 landscape. I work in the fashion industry—an ironically archaic industry with a “take-make-waste” old school business model, huge emphasis on short-term profits, and the constant push for infinite growth. Like everything else, COVID-19 has turned the fashion industry upside down and has provided an opportunity to reshape this industry.

I took this pause from business as usual to open up a small hemp/ organic cotton mask company called One World Mask.

I partnered with a seasoned veteran in the Los Angeles hemp clothing industry, and we created a line of hemp and organic cotton masks. I am really excited about these masks as I hope they help the consumer understand that what we put on our skin has a direct effect on our health. As we wear our mask over our mouth and nose we literally inhale and ingest the material of the masks.

This crisis has really highlighted the fact that we are all connected.

We are just as connected to our neighbors next door as we are to those on the other side of the planet. We are connected to all living things. The destruction of their habitats is also the destruction of our safety and health. I am hopeful that this moment will be a turning point in our awareness and a shift in our mindset.

In addition to the mask venture, I recently began volunteering with an NGO called Hechos Por Nosotros as one of their collaborators. We are building a sustainable fashion toolkit course that will be certified through the UN Fashion Pact and the World Economic Forum. I am excited that I have a platform to utilize my thesis work and research and build upon it. My thesis work was a definition of sustainable fashion. I am very grateful to have this knowledge base as it has provided a valuable structure for the toolkit. If you are interested in working on the toolkit and learning more, please reach out at [email protected].

Ellie Cotlar

Ellie has worked as a designer in New York’s fast fashion industry for a little over a decade. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2004 and received her BFA in Fashion Design. She is excited to use her experience in mass market fashion to explore how to best apply sustainable design practices to this industry. In her free time, Ellie enjoys taking classes in the circus arts; specifically lyra, silks, and partner acrobalance. She is currently pursuing an MA in Sustainable Design at MCAD and has recently moved to Los Angeles.