With face masks part of our new cultural reality, it looks like we’re going to be wearing them for a while to come – which is all the more reason to ditch the disposables and invest in some cloth maths with flair. Disposable masks are becoming a real environmental issue, with conservationists warning that there may soon be more masks than jellyfish in the sea. So while the importance of masks goes beyond that of your standard fashion accessory, there’s still room to inject a dose of personality. With a plethora of styles to choose from made by independent sellers on Etsy, Depop and Instagram, here are six small businesses offering unique designs, so you can simultaneously make a sartorial statement whilst protecting yourselves and others.
Alongside her handmade accessories and upcycled garments, By Isabel’s cotton masks come in myriad prints, from liberty florals to Burberry checks, so there’s a design to suit every style.
Masha-Maria is an Amsterdam-based slow fashion brand, creating handcrafted garments using upcycling techniques. Their whimsical gingham masks add a splash of colour to any outfit, with contrasting colour combinations.
Jennifer Wong is a Graphic Design student at Leeds, handmaking her own cotton face masks in various prints and designs. For every mask sold, Jennifer is donating one mask to Age UK – find her on Instagram at @jenniferwong.dsgn.
By Megan Crosby
By Megan Crosby is a made-to-order sustainable brand based in Portsmouth, run by Megan herself alongside her small team. She designs and hand-makes every garment using only deadstock and organic fabrics. In addition to her colourful clothing, Megan now makes cloth face masks in small batches – her gingham and rainbow gradient designs are double-layered and made from digitally printed fabrics, reducing waste.
Ethical brand notjustclothing offers embroidered, personalised face masks – from your initials to your zodiac sign – and donates 50% of profits from every sale to the Masks for NHS Heroes initiative.
O Pioneers is a slow fashion brand, recognised for its vintage-inspired floral dresses, made by local seamstresses from end-of-line heritage fabrics. Their face masks are made using fabric cutoffs from their dresses (so you can match your mask to your dress), and 20% from the sale of each mask is donated to the Intensive Care Society, which provides wellbeing support to staff working in Intensive Care Units.
Header image: Teen Vogue