With public areas and work places reopening, plus the beautiful weather alluring, face masks are probably your most important accessories this season. We put together this list of resources to purchase, donate, or DIY your own face masks, all from small businesses and non-profits that promote eco-friendly products, support underprivileged communities, and give back to their local first responders and neighbors in need.
Founded by three sisters, Rachna, Ruchika, and Monika with the wish to preserve and promote the handmade textile culture, Ichcha has been working with textile artisans across India for almost 10 years. When the coronavirus spread to New York City, the neighborhood where their home studio was located quickly became the first epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. Almost immediately, the Ichcha sisters started to make face masks for hospital workers and other first-responders with fabric scraps in their studio. Hundreds of masks have been donated in Queens, New York. Doctors and nurses wore them over their medical masks to prolong the life of the once scarce PPE.
Coming in both adult and kid's sizes, Ichcha's cotton masks have been block printed and dyed in a chemical-free bath full of flowers, fruit skins, and/or minerals. The double-sized design makes it easy to match the mask with your outfit or mood of the day. The generous size and soft fabric guarantee comfortable wear for everyone.
Rooted in collaboration and innovative design solutions, Anchal is a non-profit that works with artisan women in India to create sustainable small businesses and promote equal employment opportunities. Anchal's organic and vintage cotton face masks are made from two layers of quilted fabric. The dense weave of this durable cotton barrier provides protection and breathability.
Anchal's cotton bandanas also make for a versatile face mask option that can still be worn when COVID-19 pandemic ends. Check out this brief tutorial demonstrating how you can create a face mask using a bandana. No sewing required!
Inspired by the art of origami, culinary design company Aplat makes products centered around sharing food, wine, and flowers, following a low-impact, zero-waste design and manufacturing principle. Their masks are sewn from 10oz preshrunk 100% organic cotton canvas. The double-layered origami design provides an adjustable fit and comfortable breathability. You can also insert a disposable filter for added protection.
Aplat graciously shares the design template of this mask on their blog, together with step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial. Click here to view and download.
Little Korboose is a modern minimalist lifestyle brand focused on consciousness. They currently offer two styles of mask: one with a filter pocket and one without, both using 100% organic cotton scraps that make the masks lightweight, breathable, and durable. As a dedicated zero waste company with a "no textiles in land fills policy", Little Korboose uses organic cotton textile remnants to repurpose for this effort.
Z Wraps are using resources from their eco-friendly and sustainable food storage solutions to create masks and support local communities. Priced at only $7 each, all Z Wraps masks are made with two layers of un-waxed, 100% cotton fabric, with two patterns used for easy inside-outside identification and ties to allow for a custom fit.
"We’ve partnered with Jewish Family Service of Western MA and First Churches of Northampton, MA to connect new members of our local community with meaningful paid work . These organizations work to resettle refugees and guide them on a path to independence, and we are proud to be collaborating on this effort."
Ethical home textile brand Minna started a no-waste project with their artisan partners in Mitla, Mexico to use production waste — pieces that were made too small or had slight design errors, to make face masks. For each mask purchased, Minna donates one to a local organization in need, including post offices and shelters.
Block printing and textile studio Tulusa is donating masks to their local shelters and other places in need. “We are making masks just as fast as we can" - so far, they have donated over 400 masks made from 100% cotton fabrics. On their web store, Tulusa offers colorful block printed cotton masks in adult and child sizes, each backed with soft cotton flannel and comfortable elastic strapping.
FOUND MY ANIMAL
Found My Animal has jumped at the emergency call for new masks, starting the Lorraine Community Mask Project, named after a caring woman’s mother who served as a nurse in the run-up to World War II. "We are making masks in Lorraine's honor to help the community feel safe and preserve medical masks for those that need it most. Thank you for supporting our craft during these times. We want to help, and we are all in this together". As an organization dedicated to facilitate pet adoption, part of the proceeds from their sales go to support animal welfare and rescue organizations.
In addition to their high-end garments made with artisan methods of production and modern technology, fashion house M. Patmos is now making soft and streamlined face masks for adults and kids to better practice social distancing. Carefully engineered to fit most adults' or children's facial structure, each M. Patmos mask comes with a sewn-in aluminum nose band and an invisible slit for insert. For each kids mask sold, the company is donating a mask to the families that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in New Mexico through Seeding Sovereignty.
Portland based leather goods workshop Primecut launched Project PPE to get PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) into the hands of healthcare workers and volunteers on the frontline as soon as possible. Primecut makes and donates one mask for each dollar donated. And for every two dollars donated, they make and donate a face shield. Their cotton face masks are machine washable with filter layer and nose clip built in. For DIYers, Primecut provides a list of materials and instructions for mask and face shield making.