A few days after the end of this endless lockdown, with all the uncertainties of the case, something really certain there is and it is that the protective face mask will become our daily companion, so present and essential to take on the role that, at least for us women, the purse has and, for men, the wallet in the trouser pocket.
Who would have said that? Until some time ago, seeing people with masks around was strange, especially to our western culture, open to smog and bacteria as if they were now part of the air we breathed; today and in the coming months, which alas will also be the hottest, we will not be able to avoid wearing it, to protect us and others.
And so the mask becomes without a shadow of a doubt the new forcibly trendy accessory, which the world of fashion, formidable perceptor of what will come, had already anticipated seasons ago in different collections, from Palm Angels to Aganovich, from Off-White to Collina Strada and just to name a few.
So, if the mask is to become an accessory in the same way as a bag, glasses, hat, belt and so on, green light to imagination, to colors, prints and above all, in our case, to sustainability: I have selected for you some models created by Italian creative and artisan workshops or linked to social and solidarity projects, so that responsible and eco-friendly choices can also be made for this indispensable accessory. And I prefer Made in Italy because it is right that, now more than ever, we choose products made in our country, also to help, albeit in the small, our poor economy and small artisans.
Lavgon is an all-female workshop of ethical and artisan fashion; based in the province of Pavia, in Zinasco, it collaborates with textile manufactures made in Italy, using natural fibers such as wool, silk, hemp, linen and organic cotton. And the masks that they made, sold in kits on the shop of their site, are precisely in double layer of cotton with pocket to insert any filter, in sober colors and / or fantasy prints, with elastic, washable and reusable laces.
Capre di Neve, a small artisan reality discovered in Instagram, was born from Valentina Ascione’s desire to share not only a personal passion, that is sewing, but also ideas deeply linked to respect for what surrounds us, therefore people and the environment. Valentina makes her own cotton masks with internal filter pocket and iron hook to secure it to the nose and included in the package are 12 washable TNT filters and a detailed explanation on how to wash and use the mask. For more info you can contact her through her Instagram profile.
TCBL Textile & Clothing Business Labs is a research and innovation project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program; its purpose is to build a multifaceted commercial ecosystem of businesses, innovation laboratories, service providers and consultants who work together to transform the textile and clothing industry. The common goal is to find alternative, circular and sustainable paths for excessive production and decreasing value. Among the companies participating in the project there is also the TCBL Lab Sartoria Sociale which, in Palermo, works in a space confiscated from the mafia. In the laboratory, old clothes are recovered by transforming them and, at the same time, marginalized people who find a new life are made to work. They too are producing three-layered washable cotton masks in many colors and patterns recovered from sanitized textile waste. For each mask sold, the cooperative gives one to needy people.
Another solidarity project is that of Made in Carcere, a non-profit social cooperative in which ‘different (mind) useful’ products are produced: bags, accessories and, now, even masks. The products are packaged by women on the margins of society, that is, inmates who are offered a training course, with the aim of a definitive reintegration into the working and civil society. The masks are made of quality cotton or lycra, monochrome or patterned, they are washable and reusable and sold with three removable TNT filters, therefore replaceable.
Even Sara Cordovana, founder and designer of the beautiful line of handmade beachwear and activewear Mikini, has dedicated a part of her business to the creation of very fashionable masks, with a buttonhole for inserting the filter, elastic laces, washable and therefore reusable. The external fabric is in OEKO-TEXT certified polyamide and elastane, the internal one is the same materials but with a higher percentage of polyamide and less elastane.
And then there is the couture mask, why not, like that of Francesca Marchisio, who applies her tailoring style to models in 100% cotton use water repellent and windproof trench coat with the addition of anti-bacterial fabric. The mask is washable, adjustable by elastic, hand-stitched with tailored stitching and with hand-embroidered personalized details. Wow!
Of course there are many other brands and in general the small and large companies in the sector that have converted part of the production into masks, I had also already mentioned it here recently. I wanted to do just a little excursus, naming brands and creatives that I follow with interest and that I respect for their work. Above all I wish them, who do not have the possibility of the big brands, to be able to recover from this tragedy and to find in their creativity a reason to go on.
Last but not the least, it is important to remember that all the masks mentioned are for civil use, that is, they not constitute a medical device and in general health.
Cover photo: courtesy of The Canvas by Querencia