BY LOUISE ALLSOP
17 JULY 2020
Face Masks, and coverings, have become compulsory for travel on public transport since May 11 th, and in taxis (including Ubers) since June 12 th and will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets from July 24th. Failure to wear a mask will result in a £100 fine from the police. The need for facemask and coverings and their efficiency has been debated throughout the pandemic. Masks can’t stop you catching “the virus” but they can prevent you spreading it if you are infected or carrying it.
As the beginning of the pandemic proved, PPE has been in high demand globally, and so medical face masks should be left to front line workers. Not everyone should wear a mask, either – those with respiratory conditions, those with disabilities and children are exempt from this advice.
So, where to find a facemask? Many tutorials exist online, so you could make yourself some masks, lined with old cotton t-shirts for example. See the UK Government’s guidance to making face-coverings (including patterns), here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-
covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering. The most important factors to consider when choosing your facemask should be the fit (does it cover your nose and mouth comfortably, allowing you to breathe normally?) and ensuring it’s washable.
Many clothing brands and designers have turned to making facemasks during the pandemic, with offerings from the high-street to designers working with the British Fashion Council.
There’s also been a boom in sellers on Etsy and Instagram selling designs, made from deadstock fabric.
Where to buy a face mask
ASOS DESIGN, Pack of 5, £15
ASOS have a wide range of affordable face coverings on sale, in a variety of designs. The masks are machine washable with a double layer construction. £1 from the sale of each face mask is donated to Oxfam’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Appeal.
Little Mistress Antibacterial Fabric Protection Face Mask, Pack of 3, £19
Alongside Kindred.Co, Little Mistress are aiming to raise £5 million for NHS Charities Together with 100% of proceeds after costs going to the charities when purchasing something from their ‘Rainbow Thank You’ range. The range includes masks for adults and children as well as hand sanitiser, t-shirts, baby grows and other apparel. Masks are knitted with antibacterial 5 thread polyamide yarn and machine washable. Masks available in white or black with rainbow motif.
NEQI Reusable Face Masks, Pack of 3, £15
Boots have been working alongside the Government and Public Health England to help deliver PPE to those on the frontline. Staff at the Nottingham-based firm have been
supporting the NHS by testing frontline staff throughout the pandemic. Whilst Boots have disposable facemasks on sale, they have reusable facemasks on sale for both adults and children. Adult masks are available in Black and Pink and are machine washable.
Sunspel Cotton Face Mask, £10
With a factory in Long Eaton, Nottingham, Sunspel are a locally based designer known for producing “luxury basics” such as James Bond’s Polo Shirts and White T-Shirts. During the pandemic, the seamstresses at Sunspel have been producing laundry bags and masks for nurses and community workers, and their masks are now for sale. The masks are machine washable with an anti-bacterial lining. Masks, subject to availability, are available in Navy, Grey and White.
Great British Designer Face Coverings, Pack of 3, £15
The British Fashion Council have worked alongside Bags of Ethics to produce sustainable, reusable face coverings. Masks are made from GOTS certified organic cotton sateen and have an ‘anti-fog fit’ for glasses wearers. Prints are made from ‘non-toxic REACH compliant inks’ with designs by Julien Macdonald, RIXO, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, RÆBURN and Halpern. Masks are machine washable and come in packs of three, with two protective pouches. John Lewis donates all profits plus VAT from these masks to NHS Charities Together, BFC Fashion Fund and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity (providing free education for children from poor and underprivileged backgrounds).
Lavender Hill Clothing, Cotton Face Mask, pack of 3, £25
Lavender Hill Clothing produce “simple, luxurious and affordable everyday essentials for women” and their 100% cotton facemasks are available in a range of gorgeous prints. The packs of masks include a cotton pouch for storage. Importantly, Lavender Hill donate a pack of masks to the Katherine Low Settlement (Battersea) who provide support to vulnerable people within their local area for every pack sold.
Edeline Lee, Pack of 3 Spunbond Masks, £40
Edeline Lee’s masks are made from Nonwoven Spunbond Polyproylene, which is the same fabric used to make surgical masks and drapes. These aren’t medical grade masks but have a similar design to them. The masks have a bendable nose piece, which allows the masks to be form-fitted to the wearers nose, for a snug, more comfortable fit (but also to help prevent glasses steaming up). These masks can be machine washed but are more suited to being wiped clean. The brand have worked alongside volunteers to produce masks for NHS keyworkers throughout the pandemic.
Pearl Lowe Fabric Mask, £30
Pearl Lowe has worked alongside Somerset Seamstresses to produce a line of Limited-Edition Liberty Fabric masks. The masks are machine washable and being produced on a made-to-order system. 10% of profits from each mask goes to the South West-based charity‘We Hear You’ who support people affected by cancer and life-threatening condition, as well as having a crisis support line for those who have Covid-19.