For all Victorians, it’s now mandatory that you wear a face mask when you leave your home for one of the four permissible reasons.
You do not have to be wearing a hospital-grade face mask to leave home; residents can wear reusable cloth masks, a homemade face mask or a face covering (such as a scarf or bandana).
So where can you get a mask in Melbourne? You can purchase both cloth masks and surgical masks (the two types that the DHHS recommends) from chemists and hardware stores, but many Melbourne retail stores and creatives have started selling their own. Here are some we like:
Three French friends living in Melbourne have launched a face masks business (and they're also doing cute matching accessories). Everything is handmade in Fitzroy and these masks are adjustable and reversible. Check them out here.
Time Out fave and workwear supplier Cargo Crew are now selling three-layer protective masks in a couple of fun colours. These masks are made from 100 per cent breathable cotton and have a wire insert over the nose so it sits snug and you won’t fog up your glasses. Check them out here.
SParms face masks have been designed with an athletic and active wearer in mind. Using a 3D contoured design for comfort and a choice of fabric ideally suited to breathability make these masks a great choice for those on-the-go or required to wear one for long periods of time. Each face mask contains a copper or nano-silver infused inner layer and there are three varieties to choose from. Check them out here.
This Brunswick business is making face masks (and matching dog jackets). These come in a selection of colourful patterns with adjustable head elastic and nose wire. They also come in three different sizes. Check them out here.
The G-Series mask from CastleGrade certainly looks different to all the other fabric masks on this list. These are made from medical-grade silicone with replaceable filters. Check them out here.
This small business sells vintage, pre-loved and handmade items – including washable cotton masks from recycled fabrics. These masks are made to order with a built-in wire and three breathable cotton layers. Check them out here.
Meals on Heels
Meals on Heels is an LGBTQIA "delivery service" wherein you can hire Melbourne performers to be your own personal shopping assistants. Now, during the pandemic, they'd diversified and are now creating face masks for the community. A portion of the proceeds goes back to local LGBTQIA venues. Check them out here.
The Masque Co
These washable masks come in a selection of fun designs – plus $1 from every product purchased goes towards mental health support to those in the Performing Arts Industry. Check them out here.
Masks for Change
Aussie business Masks for Change partner with Reach Out Australia, so $1 from every mask purchase is being donated to the mental health charity. All masks are triple layers and come in a range of styles – including both elastic and fabric ties. Check them out here.
East Coast Face Masks
This Aussie business is selling reusable face masks with replacement filters. They offer dispatch within 24 hours and also donate $1 to the Royal Flying Doctors Service for every mask or filter sold. Check them out here.
Made in house in Melbourne, E Nolan’s masks come in two sizes (adult and adult+) and feature a double layer of breathable cotton. They also have a malleable concealed wire that fits over the nose. Get yours here.
This Point Cook business has recruited a number of local sewers to make colourful face masks in a number of fun prints. Support a small business and see the selection of masks here.
This Melbourne-based business has been making WHO-compliant, tri-layer face masks from hydrophobic materials. All fabric is sourced locally in Geelong and Spotwood and the masks come in two sizes. Check them out here.
EveryHuman has launched a range of face masks that feature a clear panel over the mouth to help those in the deaf and hard of hearing community. The strap also goes around the head, rather than over the ear, so as to not disturb hearing aids. You can also purchase masks from EveryHuman without the clear panel. Check out the range here.
Handmade in Melbourne by theatre wardrobe creative Elyse Horner, all the profits from these reusable black masks go directly to support the Arts Wellbeing Collective. Check them out here.
Costumes Without Drama
In more usual times, this small business would be busily creating and shipping costumes for school productions around the country from its Ringwood workshop. With costuming needs on hold, Tracey Nuthall has pivoted her business to manufacturing specialised face masks with a clear window. The see-through panel allows hard of hearing people to lip-read, and is also useful for speech pathologists, carers, and all sorts of people working in service roles. These masks are triple-layered, hand washable and come in a range of colours and prints. Regular masks are also available. Check them out here. NB: Costumes Without Drama currently provides next-day dispatch from Melbourne.
These protective face masks are made by Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamilaroi woman Madison Connors, founder and creative director of Yarli Creative. Forty per cent of all profits from the pre-sale of these masks will be donated to the Elizabeth Morgan House which is an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation that provides refuge accommodation and specialist family violence services to Aboriginal women and their children. Check out the masks here.
Clear Collective Masks
These cotton masks are made and sewn in Sydney and are made to stop pollution, pollen and bacteria from filtering in or out. There are numerous colour combos to choose from as well. Check them out here.
SisterWorks is a non-profit organisation that helps migrant women make a better living while in Melbourne. The team has been making reusable fabric face masks since the start of the pandemic. Buying one of these masks means you'll be supporting vulnerable communities as they navigate this tricky time. Check them out here.
Australian Face Masks
Another Aussie-made brand, Australian Face Masks have wide facial coverage and come in a number of colours. Check them out here. NB: Due to increased demand there's currently a 23-day delay in shipping orders for Australian Face Masks.
Chopsuey Inc is a local maker from West Footscray that makes personalised guitar straps. Now, they've started making colourful face masks made from 100 per cent cotton. Check them out here.
This CBD store is now selling artist-designed cloth face masks. Check them out here. NB: Monster Threads masks are currently sold out but you can pre-order online from the new batch due August 15.
These stylish face masks are made in Fitzroy North, coming in some cute patterns and come with a pocket to insert a filter. Plus you can get free shipping for all orders in Australia – check them out here.
These triple-layered masks are made in Melbourne in compliance with DHHS mask guidelines. There's a stack of cool designs available for both kids and adults, and 20 per cent of profits go towards charities. You'll get your mask pretty quickly too, with the business using a next-day carbon neutral courier to dispatch the masks. Take a look at the range here.
With in-person theatre productions put on ice, actor Todd McKenney has channeled his energy into a new project that helps out both his fellow stage and screen colleagues, and Australians looking after their community. The actor has launched a new website called Todd Masks – an online marketplace where the public can buy reusable face masks created by out-of-work costume designers.
This textile enterprise in Coburg helps women from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds find economic empowerment through sewing and textile programs. They’ve just started making reusable fabric face masks made from 100 per cent new cotton. There’s also a lining so you can slide in an additional filter. Check them out here. NB: Masks are currently out of stock but keep an eye on Second Stitch’s Instagram for updates.
The Social Studio
The Social Studio is a social enterprise that hires young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in fashion and textile-based industries. These masks comply with DHHS guidelines and also come in seven different colour combinations. They’re breathable and machine washable. Check them out here. NB: The Social Studio has paused its mask sales while they fulfil existing orders. Stay tuned for updates.
Much loved Melbourne designer Kuwaii has released its own line of three-layer fabric face masks. There are three colours available and they’re all made here in Melbourne. Plus, $5 from every purchase goes to a rotating Covid charity. They’ll be available for preorder soon – head to the website for more info.