Major fashion councils from both sides of the Atlantic recently proved that face coverings can do more good than just protecting us from COVID-19. Following their successful June 2020 campaign, which raised £500,000 for the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, the British Fashion Council is collaborating with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as well as Bag of Ethics, to produce a second line of reusable, non-medical grade face masks through their Great Global Designer Face Coverings initiative.
These masks will be created in partnership with British designers Ahluwalia, Thornton Bregazzi of Preen and Marques’Almeida, and their American counterparts Mara Hoffman, Liya Kebede of lemlem and Kim Shui, providing a chic touch to an otherwise necessary accessory.
Steven Kolb, CEO of CFDA, notes the importance of masks during the pandemic, and the power the fashion industry holds in making mask wearing a little more enjoyable: “As the pandemic continues to impact lives worldwide, it is important that we all wear masks to protect ourselves and those around us. We asked three of our designers — Mara Hoffman, Liya Kebede and Kim Shui — to add their creative touch to this essential item.”
Armed with an American interest this time around, proceeds from the masks will again go to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, as well as CFDA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity programming. These donations will go towards promoting the growth of countless young fashion creators, who may not otherwise have an entrée into the industry, or the funds to maintain their design work through the COVID-19 driven economic slump.
As mask-wearing extends into the new year, and independent creators continue to struggle, Marques Almedia designers Marta & Paolo said in a statement that the initiative proves that “the British Fashion Industry can come together in times of crisis to support each other and create a positive impact!”
Caroline Rush, Chief of BFC, highlighted the importance of supporting local designers in partnership with CFDA: “This is a powerful time for collaboration across all sectors and the fashion industry has demonstrated strength in unity over the last number of months. We are excited to work alongside our American counterparts to promote local designers while encouraging sustainable practices in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus.” And it is this notion of sustainability that’s also central to the mask initiative.
In designing reusable, non-medical grade masks, the fashion councils minimize single-use plastic waste, as well as the depletion of medical grade supplies for front line workers fighting the virus head-on.
“Our goal is to always produce reusable products which are well designed, affordable, and that can reduce the effects of wasteful consumption,” said Bag of Ethics Chairman, Dr. R. Sri Ram. “The face coverings campaign has been truly successful due to the generosity of the public, our retail partners, and the incredible efforts of the design industry uniting”.
Not only are Great Global Designer Face Coverings better for the environment, but they’re also produced ethically in collaboration with Bag of Ethics. Each washable face mask is manufactured at company’s partner-owned factories, ensuring humane production.
The designer masks will be internationally available in packs of three beginning in December at a not-so-designer price point of £15 in the U.K., and $18 in the U.S., with £2 from each sale to be split between the BFC and CFDA’s respective initiatives.
Each three-pack includes two protective poches to store your masks between wears. You can find your own intentionally designed face mask pack through partner retailers, including bagofethics.com, Amazon, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners in the U.K. Out west, Americans can check out Social Goods beginning in December, and Target in the new year. Oh, and remember, nothing pairs more perfectly with a face mask than social distancing.