‘Another fashion brand making masks’ I hear you say.
If you are already a TOBEFRANK shopper and follow our story you will see that as a brand our mission is to problem solve. We tackle problems such as fair pay, ethical sourcing, water consumption, fabric waste and chemical pollution just to name a few.
At first, our primary focus when it came to Covid was to ensure our supply chain partners were safe and healthy. This meant us being in close communication with our mills and factories daily as our priority was for us all to survive this pandemic together. As the weeks went on, other brands were cancelling orders and discarding their fabrics and commitments to their suppliers. More and more, empty factory seats were becoming a daily occurrence. Our mill temporarily closed its doors, a few factories followed and the streets of Turkey like London, became quiet.
“these disposable masks which are dropped on the street get washed into drains and enter local rivers contaminating the water and destroying the ecosystem that exists.”
At the same time discarded plastic masks were becoming a common sighting as tons and tons of plastic PPE waste began to fill our bins, be discarded in the streets and eventually floating into our rivers. Headlines started to cover the news calling PPE- the new plastic problem.
These PPE masks normally worn by doctors and nurses are commonly made of polypropylene which is a plastic required to be disposed of in a controlled environment.However, now we see these masks being used by everyone and being discarded on the streets all over the world. Not only does this add to the plastic which will stay on our planet for hundreds of years, these disposable masks which are dropped on the street get washed into drains and enter local rivers contaminating the water and destroying the ecosystem that exists. So, not only is this a risk of spreading disease but a life threatening hazard to wildlife and the environment.
It was clear we needed to do something about this. It was inspiring seeing people making their own masks which could be washed and used again. However, this concept needed to be on a larger scale to really make a difference and how great would it be if we could do this while reusing old fabric which would normally go to landfill? After talking with our supply chain partners in Turkey, we decided to develop a zero-waste mask. Our recycling mill had the fibre and our fabric mill had opened nearly half of its space so we could all get to work safely. We had a plan.
This zero-waste mask is made from fabric cuttings left over from previous production runs which otherwise would have ended up in landfill. The fabric is separated into colours and then turned it into new fibre ready to be spun and made into fabric. The mask is two layers with an inside pouch for a PM2.5 filter to sit for extra safety. The ear loops are self-fabric so it’s comfortable (as elastic isn’t good for the environment), our label is recycled, and our packaging is recycled paper which supports the amazing ‘onetreeplanted’ charity.
These are still strange times and we don’t know how long our lives will be like this. But let’s protect ourselves, each other and our wonderful planet.