Where to buy reusable face masks and how to make them yourself in Australia

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Reusable face masks in Australia are back in high demand – and there are still choices to suit various tastes and budgets.

On 4 January 2021, in certain indoor public spaces in Greater Sydney, the wearing of face masks or face coverings became compulsory. On December 31, wearing face masks in indoor public spaces was also made compulsory again in Victoria.

Although the availability of face masks is much greater than when Victoria first enacted mask legislation in July 2020, it can still be a challenge to find a quality, reusable face mask, especially because many shops are closed for the holidays.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to make your own if you can’t purchase a mask.

The Social Studio, a social enterprise and fashion education initiative located in Melbourne, partnered with the Victorian government in July to produce an instructional video and template to make your own mask.

“Essentially, there are three different types of fabrics that need to be included,” Guardian Australia said in July 2020 to Aleksandra Nedeljkovic, chief operating officer of The Social Studio. One is an outer layer that needs to be water-repellent, then there is an… intermediate layer that helps to keep out nasty particles, then a breathable fabric is the inner layer, like 100% cotton.

It is the mixture of these three layers that makes a mask effective.
Although three-layer masks are not mandated, the Victorian and NSW recommendations also recommend that the most effective type of security is masks with at least three layers.

Nedeljkovic says that if they have the right fabric, everyone can make their own mask – “which shouldn’t be too difficult.”

If it is difficult to find the right product, you can also pursue the manufacturing idea of The Social Studio and reuse fabric from existing clothes you no longer use, or even from a reusable shopping bag (for the outer layer of the mask).

You can still wear it now if you bought a safety mask prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. “this may cause you to breathe in the virus if you have coronavirus.”if you have coronavirus, this may cause you to breathe in the virus.

Also, remember that a mask is only effective if it covers the nose and mouth – wearing a mask with the nose poking out the top will not protect you or anyone else.

Audio replay

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Guardian Australia has assembled a list of reusable face mask suppliers for those who prefer purchasing a mask rather than producing one themselves, all of which have at least three layers to fit a variety of tastes and budgets.

Please note that all masks were in stock at the time this list was compiled, but some may already have sold out or are no longer available.

Masks that are washable with at least three layers
The Gap Reversible Mask Clothing with Four Layers, $20.
This interchangeable mask from Clothing the Gap’s social enterprise features artwork on one side and plain black on the other by Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson. It is available in two sizes and has adjustable elastic ear loops and a wire for the nose.

Hey Reflect’o Face Mask Reusable, $29.
Lisa Penney from Adelaide has added to her arsenal of Australian-made and eco-friendly hi-vis masks-the masks come in a selection of colors and prints, all with a reflective Covid 19 cheeky print.

Often available in a pack of four.

The ‘B1-G1’ Printed Reusable Mask Social Suit, $33.
The Social Outfit is no stranger to using fashion for change. The Australian non-profit retailer and producer

The organization provides refugees and new immigrants with jobs and training in the apparel industry.

Each mask sold leads to a model of buy-one-give-one, where a mask is given to a person in need. The masks are made from fabric scraps and have an adjustable nose wire, so the design you receive is a surprise in the Lucky Dip style.

The Yarli collective’s Three-layer Masks.
Six motifs adorning the masks she makes for her print and apparel company, Yarli Collective, were painted by Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamilaroi artist Maddy Connors.

Face Masks from Tirion Origami, $18.
Theatrical costume designer Tirion Rodwell makes these machine-washable, foldable face masks un un.

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