We can all agree on is that 2020 has definitely been like a planet reset due to the several lockdowns imposed worldwide. One would think that the carbon emissions would have decreased considerably but on the contrary, according to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (World Meteo Organisation), the global response to the Covid-19 crisis has had little impact on the continued rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2. So, what can we do as individuals whilst consuming fashion and trying to help the planet get greener? Shopping responsibly and wherever possible is one way. Trying to shop local and eco-friendly brands whilst remaining fashionable can sometimes be a challenge, so here is a selection of my 10 favourite sustainable brands that make face masks:
Hand-woven Khadi fabric made mostly at a fair wage facility in Gopuri, India. Once at the end of its life, this cotton is biodegradable. Founded by Susanna Wen in 2014, later joined by Sophie Slater in 2017, Birdsong is made in London and works with skilled women makers in the UK that face barriers to employment, and pay them a fair wage. Recycled packaging. Low carbon hand-spun fabric. £5 goes towards Living Wages and local charities.
Stunning printed cotton mask, designed by Isabel Manns, a London based designer.
The mask has adjustable elastic earloops to fit any head shape and size, a lining as well as a gap in the lining so that you can place a piece of filter fabric inside. 100% of the profits made from the masks are going to Maggie's Charity, an organisation that offers free cancer support and information in centres across the UK.
(red and blue)
I had to include FFSB in my list (this acronym stands for Finn, Frank, Seb, and Béla) as this label was founder by 4 teenagers during lockdown (as their GCSE's were cancelled). They are producing ethically-made masks alongside a family-run factory in Portugal. In addition to being young and inspirational entrepreneurs, they are also giving back by donating 10% of their profits to Young Minds, a mental health charity. These upcycled masks are made of 100% cotton leftover fabrics and cut-offs, and each mask is double layered in a pleated design, recyclable and with nose wiring.
Based in London and with a knitwear studio in Vienna, SABINNA is a conscious fashion label for women, founded by Sabinna Rachimova. Pack of 2, non-medical, ethical face masks made from SABINNA offcuts and natural fibres including tencel, linen and organic cotton. You can choose between 5 different prints and can adjust the elastics and hide the knot in the side seam. Handmade responsibly in London with vegan-friendly materials, these face coverings trap droplets to a certain degree when you speak, cough or sneeze, which helps to protect each other. The packaging is made of 100% compostable mailers and 100% recyclable tissue paper.
(Available in Chery Print or Grey/Blue Palm Print)
Hotmamas is a London based black-owned womenswear label, founded by blogger and artist, Monique Lonewarrior. Hotmamas promotes sustainability by using carefully sourced natural materials, minimising the use of water and electricity, including a low carbon footprint, fair-trade and cruelty-free practices. These face masks are made from 100% breathable and deadstock Cotton.
Boden is a London based independent retailer that offers womenswear, menswear and childrenswear. Each set of three comes with a spotty, stripy and block-colour design - all featuring a wire across the nose so you can fit them to your face. made these using the ends of fabric rolls so they’re planet-friendly, too. Each mask has an internal wire along the top edge to adjust the fit over your nose. Boden has been working with some of its suppliers/artisans for more than 20 years. On the sustainability front, Boden runs several projects ranging from protecting workers, educating women and supporting several charities. To find out more about the brand, click here.
If you are looking for a sustainable, creative, vibrant African mask that will NEVER go out of fashion, well look no further “SHE IS COCO", a London based brand that is bringing the African culture to life using modern styles. Funk up your wardrobe with a SHE IS COCO mask. Do not miss out on the opportunity to choose the fabric or colours you want, adjustments can be made to your pieces. These reusable and sustainable masks are hand-made with 100% breathable cloth and have a fitted nose guard.
Boostology is an independent retailer based in London which offers unique, innovative and exclusive gift ideas. With over 20 years of experience in the business, they have developed a range of exclusive products that you cannot buy anywhere else. Their range includes organic, vegan and plastic-free ideas. This Colour Block face mask is made from three layers of ultra-lightweight material, making it a comfortable and cooler option for the summer. The breathable and sweat preventative fabric features an elastic style fitting that hugs the contours of your face and stays firmly in place.
As part of their commitment to the environment:
They have banned products that are made entirely of plastic. You will only find small plastic accessories (for example lids) on their website, where no other alternative is available.
They plant one tree for every order you place with them
All orders are sent in eco-friendly parcels, which contain no plastic
They recycle all of their office waste and use 100% renewable electricity at their HQ (from solar, wind and hydro-electric power stations)
(pack of 2)
ISKO Vital™ has collaborated with cult fashion brand Ottolinger to create a limited edition face mask. The ISKO Vital+ x Ottolinger face mask features a bold, flowery print that is inspired by the emotional connection between humans and nature and the happiness of a reawakening in the coming spring. It also references Ottolinger's print heritage. The exclusive face masks are available in two colourways and have an adjustable nose clip. The masks are eco-friendly and can be washed up to 30 times. They are produced with organic cotton and therefore biodegradable. ISKO Vital also used a special material from SANITIZED™ that is integrated into the fabric, featuring a patented polymer matrix technology. The fabric is water repellent and latex-free.
Last but not least, here is a sustainable luxury alternative: MONPURE. MONPURE is actually a collective of beauty experts, dermatologists and scientists who are all dedicated to finding a real solution to the issues of hair loss and thinning. They happen to have now developed a small range of accessories which include face masks. Working to keep germs and viruses at bay, MONPURE double-sided silk face masks not only look stylish but are made from 100% mulberry silk that won’t irritate sensitive skin. It features adjustable elastic ear loops and nose wire, so it will sit comfortably – and not awkwardly – on your face. (This mask is also perfect for those who wear glasses, fitting snugly underneath your frames). Here are some of the company core values: dermatologically tested products, their ingredients are free from silicones, sulphates and parabens, cruelty-free, vegan (with no animal derivatives), PETA approved, ethically and sustainably sourced. To find out more, click here.
Hoping my detailed list will be useful to you and assist you in purchasing the right sustainable mask, please be advised that unless stated otherwise, reusable masks are for non-surgical purpose only as they are made of eco-friendly breathable materials. To keep safe, be sure to always wash your hands before putting on your mask, before taking it off and after removing it. If you want to know when to wear a face covering, exemptions from wearing one, and how to make your own, please feel free to read the latest government guidance here.