It’s now compulsory for Londoners to wear a form of face covering on public transport. If caught without a mask, you might not be able to board the bus or tube and you could be fined up to £100. While you’re free to fashion something from fabric you find at home, lots of London businesses have pivoted to making masks during lockdown – meaning you can support local creatives and stay safe at the same time. Here are some of the best in town.
Inobe Designs has two cool, bold styles of masks available for sale on Etsy. There's the African Print masks, featuring kente prints and copper metal nose grips. (They're double-layered, come in four sizes and cost £6 each.) Then there's the Afrofusion masks, which feature a half-printed and half-patterned design (£7).
The profits from Taslima K’s camo masks are going to a Covid-19 relief fund. The cotton coverings cost £10 and have a pocket to put a filter in. They’re handmade in London by the socially conscious fashion label.
Unsurprisingly, given their name, these are made in Hackney. They are put together by designer J JS Lee out of donated dead-stock fabric and can take disposable filters. Go for the black and yellow options. The £12 you pay for those also covers the cost of a mask to be given to a vulnerable person.
If bold floral prints are your jam, you might be interested in Isabel Manns’s new cotton masks. The designer’s ateliers have turned their attention from making high-end reversible clothing to sustainably made, minimal waste PPE, with profits going to the NHS. Prices start at £10.
You can choose from a selection of 100 percent natural and 100 percent vibrant fabrics, if you order a face covering from Masks of Hackney. They’re made by a local costumier and cost between £10 and £15, depending on the fabric. Delivery is free in Hackney and Stoke Newington.
Up until recently, Alice Cox’s days involved creating sets for the theatre and events industries. Now she’s turned her creative talents to making masks. She has 30 fabrics for you to choose from, like cute parrot prints and bright floral patterns, and promises non-elastic straps that won’t hurt your ears. Prices range from £10 to £15.
Bananas, manta rays, daisies… the kooky masks from Myth and Ritual cost just £7.50 and are made sustainably. They’re created by Tilly, a lingerie designer in east London, and come with nose wires for a comfortable fit. There’s also a pay it forward option so you can buy one for yourself and donate one to a local charity.
Aeibe’s aesthetic is usually pretty dresses with names like Gelato that you’d probably wear on a weekend to Soho Farmhouse. It’s carried that into its mask designs, which are called things like English Meadow and Herb Garden and are made out of cotton Liberty London fabric (with mask filters from Korea).
These brightly coloured African print masks are made by London designer Marlene Greaves. Each one is handmade, eco-friendly and limited edition, as well as fully lined with nose wire for personal fit. Adult masks are priced from £6.99 upwards. You can upgrade them with a filter pocket for £2.99 and/or buy a matching head tie to wear with them.
Should I be wearing a mask in London right now?
These resources connect Londoners to black-owned businesses.