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They’re mandatory in Melbourne and socially-responsible elsewhere, but masks can be uncomfortable, environmentally wasteful and downright ugly. We use the qualifier “can” there, because it doesn’t have to be the case: brands across Australia and the world are turning their attention to creating reusable masks which limit the spread of airborne infections without damaging the planet or our colour palette.
Here’s our pick of five brands who are making eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing masks to keep us and our community safe through these wild times.
Melbourne-based social enterprise The Social Studio have been dedicated to improving the health and happiness of vulnerable people since their inception, so the decision to start making masks was an inevitable next step for the not-for-profit community space/print studio/clothing manufacturer/fashion school/shop. In line with the mission of The Social Studio, these reusable masks are made by their team of individuals who have faced housing and migration challenges. By buying a mask, you’ll be helping keep vulnerable people in employment. The masks themselves are Department of Health and Human Services compliant, triple-layered and colourful: so wins all round.
These ones do what they say on the tin. Made in Sydney from organic cotton (as well as a layer of protective mesh), the Eco Mask is available in patterns to suit every niche style requirement: from lilac peony to Minion print. And before you ask, yes, they are available in a range of sizes, so if you’re looking for a way to tempt your toddler into wearing a mask, look no further.
Bhumi is a go-to for organic cotton anything, and their face masks are no exception. Made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton, these masks use a soft knit jacquard weave design, which means they’ll retain their strength and shape wash after wash.
We mentioned these masks in our article on the small brands responding to the pandemic, but think it’s important to list them here too. If you’re looking for a colourful, ethically made reusable mask that supports a good cause, The Social Outfit has got you covered. Much like The Social Studio, these masks are ethically made from fabric off-cuts, and the B1-G1 scheme means that for every mask purchased, one is donated to a person in need. These ones help support Sydney’s vulnerable refugee population.
And finally, if you’re still making concessions to style through the COVID crisis, turn to Arnsdorf. This Melbourne-based atelier does sustainable-chic like no other, making masks from three layers of offcuts of their GOTS certified organic ribbed cotton. Sewn by their women-led Collingwood team, Arnsdorf’s reversible face masks are made in their signature minimalist style.