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Face masks made from different colourful printed fabrics on plain peach orange background
Photograph: Supplied/Clear Collective

Where to buy face masks in Sydney right now

Lots of local creatives are making their own – here’s where to get them

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The NSW government has called for people in Sydney to wear face masks in public from today, August 3. While this recommendation is not currently a binding legal requirement, it is "strongly recommended"To be clear, this doesn't mean you need to be wearing a hospital-grade face mask – reusable cloth masks, a homemade face mask or a face covering (such as a scarf or bandana) are also acceptable.  

So where can you get a mask in Sydney? You can purchase disposable surgical masks and cloth masks from most major chemists and hardware stores, but for a more sustainable and fashion-forward option, many local and national retail stores and creatives have also started selling their own. Here are some we reckon you'll like:

Ruth Tate

This chic Inner West designer boutique which focuses on timeless fashion, beautiful textiles and natural fibres is turning its eye to making cotton masks in fresh prints. These are available in triple-layered (with polyester lining) and double-layered (with a gap to insert your own tissue or gauze) designs featuring stripes, gingham and floral prints. Head to the boutique at 168 King Street, Newtown, which is open Monday to Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm, or order online here. NB: new masks are sewn daily; online orders are posted within 1-2 business days and delivered in 3-5 days.

Little Light Industries

This Sydney-based maker is listing funky new reversible cotton face masks designs on the regular. Lucetta Stapleton is a wardrobe mistress from the musical theatre world who has turned her hand to manufacturing masks during the arts industry shutdown, with the help some theatrical mates. Check out the constantly-updating variety of prints available from the website here – ranging from vibrant animal prints to cute creatures, planets and Daleks – and scope out matching tote bags, eye masks, zippered pouches and other accessories while you're at it. NB: This maker has prompt delivery within Sydney. Due to demand, only available prints are listed on the website. For updates on available prints, sign up to the mailing list.

Spunky Bruiser

In more certain times, Spunky Bruiser can be found slinging vibrant, one-off, sustainable fashions at the Oxford Street boutique (current only open by appointment) and popping up at markets. In line with current demands, the team is hand-making face masks from recycled materials. You can order a pack of three for $40 here, and select a colour palette theme to suit your personal style, ranging from super bright prints to the more monochromatic end of the scale. NB: you can currently pre-order for the next batch due to be dispatched by courier on August 14.

The Social Outfit

This not-for-profit Newtown boutique manufacturer is creating cute, colourful masks sewn from remnant fabrics. They're operating a "buy one, give one" model, meaning for every mask you buy, one is donated to a person in need. You can check out the bold prints and order online here, or buy one in-person at the King Street store on Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 6pm (more opening times to be added soon). NB: orders take at least seven business days to ship. Due to a sudden spike in demand the Social Outfit has capped the number of masks available for sale each day. If sold out, you can check back the following day for more availability.

KITX

This Sydney-based creative fashion house is all about serving high fashion sustainably and rescuing unloved clothing from landfill, so it should come as no surprise that they've come out with their own fashionable, sustainable masks made from remnant fabrics. These masks are created with biodegradable luxe Belguim hemp, silk and linen with organic cotton elastic and responsible sourced rubber. Check them out here. NB: you can select eco-domestic shipping for orders with KITX, expected delivery 2-5 business days. 

Class of 84

This Newcastle-based company specialises in making boardies from recycled plastic bottles. This time of year they'd usually be focused on restocking their matching father and son sets for Father's Day, however they have temporarily shifted their efforts to making masks. These masks come in adults and kids sizes in fun prints such as an eye-catching sausage sandwich design. There are three layers of protection: a polyester outer layer, an inner layer with a mix of cotton and silk for comfort and antibacterial properties, plus a removable filter. Check out these bad boys here. NB: due to high demand, these masks will be shipped in mid-August.

Love Laugh and Light Collective 

In the Beforetime, fashion designer Diane Lewis was making custom couture gowns in Alexandria. In March she pivoted to face masks, developing a triple-layer, washable and sustainable mask that covers 80 per cent of your face. The outer layer is bonded with and adhesive breathable fabric, filtering dust and protecting against outside vapour and moisture. These masks come in a range of fun prints, patterns and plain fabrics. You can order here, they deliver within 4-7 business days.

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 hereNB: Costumes Without Drama currently provides next-day dispatch from Melbourne.

St Ali

Across the border, Melbourne-based coffee roaster St Ali has come up with a rather hipster solution to mandatory face covering by releasing face masks and snoods made from copper and hemp which are woven together using a 3D printer (well, actually, it’s a 3D knitter – fancy!). Of course, they come in a fashionable shade of Melbourne Black. Make an order here. NB: these products are shipped daily from Melbourne.

Petflair

If you're willing to wait out the 4-6 week delivery window on these Aussie made masks, there is a very cute pay off: you can have them custom-printed with your pet's face! These triple-layered masks are made to Victorian DHHS guidelines and 25 per cent of profits go to Pound Paws, a charity which works to re-home pets in Australian pounds and rescue centres. Place an order here.

East Coast Face Masks

This company popped up out of the current demand for good value protective masks. These plain-coloured masks have five layers of protection and come with two replaceable PM2.5 filters, check them out here. NB: all orders are dispatched within 24 hours from Melbourne, with shipping taking approximately 5 days.

The Social Studio

The Social Studio is a social enterprise in Melbourne 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: due to unprecedented demand, orders placed from July 15 may take 7-21 business days to produce and dispatch, plus 3-7 business days for shipping. 

Saibatooth

Sydney-based personal trainer Saiba Choy found herself picking up a needle and reverting to her previous career as a seamstress when gyms locked down in March. You can find her 100 per cotton, reusable face masks on Etsy. These masks come in a range of cute prints featuring the likes of lucky cats and foxes, and they're double layered and top stitched with a side gap for an insertable filter of your choice. NB: Shipping takes 1-2 weeks, healthcare professionals receive a free mask with every purchase.

The Sausage Factory

This Dulwich Hill neighbourhood restaurant (and hub for producing artisan sausages and craft beer) has now taken to producing made-to-order cloth face masks in your choice of size, fabric and binding – with prints ranging from the soft and feminine to more masc-leaning. You can order online here from Dully Locals. Read our chat about the initiative with the Sausage Queen herself over here. NB: waiting time for delivery is about a week, or masks can be picked up from the Sausage Factory (380 New Canterbury Road) on Tuesday from 5-7pm, or delivered twice a week to the Inner West and City of Sydney. 

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

Kurly Wurly Bar

This local fashion and accessory purveyor featuring distinctly Aussie illustrations and blindingly bright colours has jumped on the face mask bandwagon due to popular demand. You can get your mitts on prints that put smiles on faces, featuring pink galahs and Chiko rolls. You can order here, deliveries take about 3-4 business days. 

Outback Mask

If you're on the hunt for the practical rather than the fashionable in your protective gear, this Darlinghurst based start-up will have covered (literally) with their patented masks designed for outdoor workers and cyclists. The Outback Mask is designed for comfortable protection from the elements, with full face UV and insect protection, anti-fog sealing, and cooling fabric with an optional freezable gel pack to slip into the neck pouch. Check them out here, they ship six days a week from Sydney (with a carbon neutral courier) and deliver within 3-5 business days.

Myfacemasks.com.au

These fashionable and comical masks come from a Sydney based company specialising in fabric signage, which pivoted to making face masks in a very 2020 side hustle. Select from adults and kids sizes and a range of prints, from moustaches and cat snouts to unicorns, or customise your own. Head here to place an order, deliveries are dispatched from Sydney within 3-4 business days. 

Monster Threads

This store with multiple locations in Sydney (The Galeries, World Square, Newtown, Chatswood and Macquarie Shopping Centre) is now selling artist-designed triple-layered cloth face masks. Check them out hereNB: Monster Threads masks are currently sold out but you can pre-order online from the new batch due August 15.

Australian Face Masks

Another Aussie-made brand, Australian Face Masks have wide facial coverage and come in a number of colours. Check them out hereNB: Due to increased demand there's currently a 15-day delay in shipping orders for Australian Face Masks. 

Maskateers

Grab one of these washable and reusable cotton masks in a bunch of colourful patterns, including animal prints. Check them out here

If you are from a Sydney store or designer making and selling face masks and would like to be featured on this list, please email alannah.maher@timeout.com with business info and delivery details.

The state's health experts say the next few weeks are a critical time for Sydney's recovery. Do your part by following this simple yet vital guide to current safety measures

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