Face Masks Made from Manufacturing Offcuts : COMMENT: Reusable Coronavirus Masks from Ballo Fashion

Ballo Fashion coronavirus waste recycling circular economy face masks
© Ballo Fashion

With lockdowns underway across the world, the use of facemasks has become widespread. But supplies are dwindling and the items themselves are disposable. While their effectiveness at preventing the contraction of the virus is questionable at best, the may prevent carriers from spreading it so easily. Alistair Barnes from sustainable fashion brand, Ballo Fashion, saw an opportunity.

In 2013 the firm started out making unisex sunglasses by hand from recycled and upcycled materials and in 2016 started making other goods from sustainable fabrics. Here, Alistair explains the rationale behind the facemasks.

Earlier this week I saw someone throw away a face mask and thought, "no man, surely we can do better than that", so we found some offcut fabric, designed and prototyped, and couple days later we’re selling ethical masks.

The masks feature a pleated double fabric layer and easy to fit elastic-over-ear design. One layer of white cotton inside and one layer with a bit more vibe on the outside. The cotton for comfort and colourful vibe because it’s easier to identify your mask and why not.

We have up to 5 different fabric designs and if you order more than one, we will try put as much variety as possible so you can easily tell them apart. unfortunately, as the outer layers of fabric are often offcuts we cannot guarantee colours will be exactly as displayed.

COVID-19 and the travel ban has meant that we are shutting stores and our workshop. Cutting off revenue to the business and our 10 employees. The business currently can’t pay more than a month's rent and wages and it’s not looking like the government is going to help. So, possibly this is our last roll of the dice...

We have designed and made masks to fulfil the public need and try to ensure we can 1. Pay staff salaries 2. Pay rent and 3. Have jobs to come back to when things calm down.

In these times, first prize is not leaving the house. These masks are intended to be a barrier for when you absolutely have to leave the house for supplies etc. We encourage social distancing when wearing in public and always wash hands before hands and after fitting or removing.

Disclaimer: These face mask will not prevent the contraction of COVID-19. They designed to stop you from coughing and sneezing onto others and to help remind you not to touch your face or your nose with dirty hands. The Masks are not surgical grade, if that is what you need, please contact a medical practitioner.

Please wash your fabric face mask before first use and you are advised to wear a clean washed fabric mask every time. Please take caution when the courier delivers the parcel. Sanitise everything. And wash your hands after getting the mask out of the parcel. We have done our best to keep the masks germ free, but there are no guarantees. We encourage buying more than one in order to rotate and have time to wash them properly between uses.

Made in Woodstock, Cape Town- we are upholding strict cleaning procedures and are closed to the public.

For more information on the masks click HERE