On June 23, the NSW government announced its most thorough mask mandate to date. Make sure you keep across what you can and cannot do in Sydney right now. It's time to make sure you have face coverings handy. Whether you're struggling to find where you stuffed all your masks from the last time around, or you just feel like changing things up in the face mask fashion stakes, we have you covered (from the chin up).
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. Whatever you're wearing on your face, make sure you're wearing it correctly.
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:
In an effort to recoup lockdown related costs, Surry Hills' beloved boutique theatre company Belvoir St Theatre has released limited-edition, fashion-forward face masks. They've teamed up with Romance Was Born, the contemporary fashion house behind Cate Blanchett's infamous crochet blanket dress, to release two limited-edition mask designs. One of the prints is even designed by Archibald Prize-winning artist Del Kathryn Barton. The masks can be purchased at the Belvoir box office and online. At $45 ($55 with postage), these are not the most affordable face coverings in town, but they carry some considerable cred.
NSW’s leading health organisation for LGBTQ+ people has dropped a line of branded face masks. These form-fitting, triple-layer masks come in black cotton with ACON's colourful logo to one side. You can mask up knowing that all proceeds from your purchase have gone towards supporting vital ACON programs and services that improve the health and wellbeing of sex and gender diverse communities. They're available to purchase singularly ($15) or in packs of two ($28) or four ($55). They can be purchased online or at ACON Surry Hills.
The Golden Years team typically throw dance parties where they celebrate underplayed classic bangers from the '80s and '90s. More recently they've dipped into the mask-making game, flogging triple-layered face masks in music-themed prints ($15 with free postage) with $5 from the sale of each mask being donated to the Bayside Women's Shelter and Street Buffet, two charities that help feed and house some of Sydney's most vulnerable people. You can check them out here on the eBay store.
Clear Collective is a sustainable Sydney fashion business that has been helping make masking fit comfortably into anyone’s look. The reusable range is available in unique prints and colours. There's even a premium velvet mask for added texture. Adult masks start at $49.95, check out the range here. Same day and overnight shipping options are available.
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, 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 Sydney business traditionally specialises in premium aprons for the hospitality industry and home cooks. However, during lockdown the team began utilising their resources to make a product they're calling the 'Rise Above Face Mask' ($21.95, free delivery). These 100 per cent cotton masks come in a range of colours and prints including a couple of dashing tartans. Check out the Etsy store.
This Sydney-based online retailer (formerly known as Ekologi Store) is all about enabling Aussies to become environmentally conscious consumers. Asiki has skin in the face mask game too, selling locally made, triple-layer, 100 per cent cotton face masks ($19.95). These biodegradable masks come in a couple of colours and geometric prints. New stock hits the website every few days and orders are dispatched within two days. Check them out here.
For more than two decades, this Oxford Street boutique has been the go-to destination for keeping Sydney's drag queens and fabulous folk dressed to the nines in custom costumes and off-the-rack glamour. If you're after a face mask to wear with pride, the House of Priscilla team has you covered, making masks on site with a rainbow spectrum of more than 30 different colours and fabrics to choose from – from sequins to tartans, with a menagerie of animal prints too. Check out the range here, starting at just $10. The store also sells mask tape and adjustable toggles.
This small company is printing and sewing masks in Marrickville from 100 per cent natural materials, and there's a couple of great reasons to buy them. For every mask ($32, some cost less) purchased, Saving Face is donating $3 to the Asylum Seeker Centre; and when you buy from the Artist Collaboration Collection you're supporting young local artists, not to mention you'll be sporting funky designs. Check out the range here.
This Sydney-based online store is focused on creating modern apparel that doesn't hurt the environment. They offer next-day delivery on their in-stock masks, with understated monochromatic designs (starting at $25 for a two-pack). Check out the range here.
This Marrickville-based collage artist and designer is making reusable face masks using cutoffs from her digitally printed artworks, featuring florals and otherworldly dreamscapes ($25). The handmade masks have a printed poly outer layer and cotton drill inner with a pocket for filters. Check them out here.
This Sydney-based menswear label really sticks to their guns when it comes to bold, eye-catching designs and an Australian-made ethos. They've dropped a range of masks in reversible prints that won't break the bank (starting at $15.95) as well as scrub hats. Check out the range here. NB: online orders dispatched same-day when placed before 3pm or head in-store to the Avalon Beach shop at 1/25 Old Barrenjoey Road.
These four-layer, form-fitting masks come from a small alterations business in Annandale that has pivoted to producing face masks to protect the community and provide work for their staff. They come in signature colours and prints and at just $13 (half that if you get them on sale), these might be some of the cheapest reusable face masks you'll find too. You can order online here, or buy one in-store at Bee House Alterations, 121 Parramatta Road, Annandale.
Freelance fashion industry professional Rita McCulloch pivoted to sewing masks in April. These made-to-order designs are sewn from designer cotton shirting stock and feature wide coverage with a nose dart and chin gusset. They also come with extra elastic that can be used to relieve ear pressure. Check out the unisex designs here ($33).
On-again, off-again Northern Beaches seamstress Lara is designing, cutting and sewing masks to brighten up your day from her Manly Vale home. These triple-layer masks (from $19.99) are regularly stocked and some are made from recycled materials. Check out the range here. Orders are posted the following day.
This elegant and ethical local designer womenswear label has a range of stylish face masks (from $25), made with four layers from monochromatic remnant fabrics complete with filter compartment, ear elastic and adjustable wooden beads. Masks available for online order, check them out here.
This funky local designer specialises in vibrant, ethically produced hats and backpacks in retro prints for adults, so creating face masks in the same vein was a logical step. These masks are triple-layered and made from high-quality cotton with stylised straps ($20, less on sale). Check them out here.
If you're after a statement face mask for a special event, this Rozelle boutique that specialises in bespoke hats and headpieces will have you covered (from nose to chin). They're hand making triple-layered masks embellished with elements like pearls and Swarovski crystals ($98), as well as some more understated face coverings (from $15). Order online or pop into the shop at the York Building, 128 Victoria Rd, Rozelle.
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 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 (from $20) – 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.
This not-for-profit Newtown boutique manufacturer is creating cute, colourful masks sewn from remnant fabrics ($23-$33). 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 Newtown store (188 King St).
Fashion designer Diane Lewis pivoted from making custom couture gowns to sewing face masks in 2020 (from $14.25), 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.
Sydney-based personal trainer Saiba Choy found herself picking up a needle and reverting to her previous career as a seamstress when gyms first locked down. You can find her 100 per cotton, reusable face masks on Etsy. These masks (from $25) come in a range of cute prints featuring the likes of lucky cats and foxes, and they're double layered and topstitched with a side gap for an insertable filter of your choice.
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 (from $14.95). You can order here, deliveries take about 3-4 business days.
If you're on the hunt for the practical protective gear, this Darlinghurst based start-up will have covered (literally) with their patented masks designed for outdoor workers and cyclists. The Outback Mask ($38.99-$49.99) 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.The Urban Mask (from $19.95) is less heavy duty. Check them out here, they ship six days a week from Sydney (with a carbon-neutral courier) and deliver within 3-5 business days.
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 (from $24.95). Head here to place an order, deliveries are dispatched from Sydney within 3-4 business days.
This store with multiple locations in Sydney (The Galeries, World Square, Newtown, Chatswood and Macquarie Shopping Centre) is now selling triple-layered cloth face masks with funky designs by Australian artists (from $9.95). Check them out here.
These masks are manufactured outside of Sydney, however they do deliver here, and we think they have a little something special about them.
This small business specialises in creating and shipping costumes for school productions around the country. With costuming needs on hold in 2020, Tracey Nuthall 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.
This South Melbourne coffee purveyor is now selling face masks and snoods infused with copper and hemp, as well as hand sanitiser. Check them out here.
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 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 them out here.
This Newcastle-based company specialises in making boardies from recycled plastic bottles. 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.
Workwear supplier Cargo Crew have started taking pre-orders for their three-layer protective masks. 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. Pre-order here.
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.
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.