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Introduction - Maskaid

As you know Jennifer Lopez, Elisabeth Moss and Rose Byrne will be celebrating their birthdays on July 24th. As you should also know July 24th marks the start of mandatory mask wearing in shops in the UK. So we’ve paired up with long time friend of shop, designer, social entrepreneur and founder of Fieldplay, Linda Mackie, on a mask project.

How did Mask Aid come about?

Fieldplay is a community based enterprise selling sustainable clothing for kids made from recycled fabrics. We work with the local community to encourage recycling and social integration: empowering women to feel confident, skilled and motivated. Each week for the last 18 months I have run a sewing workshop in their Community Centre teaching women on the Northam Estate in Southampton how to sew, pattern cut and design clothes. Additionally the group helped women out of social isolation offering a few hours a week to meet others, learn new sills and eat breakfast together. When lockdown happened and the centre closed we were worried about how we could continue the project.

- Lockdown and Zoom

Each week during lockdown we hatched plans on what we could do next, without community space, sewing machines and equipment. And then we started talking Masks. I created a pattern for a hand-made mask. Many women don’t have machines so this was a lovely creative activity for women shielding. I distributed fabric and a pattern with instructions on how to make, and we talked through designs and pattern options. This is itself challenging, as English is often a second language, so it was through images and clear instructions. When lockdown eased we met in the park. We shared information with women about the importance of wearing masks, and the importance of wearing reusable masks, and we encouraged families to take several masks for their own use.

- Maskaid: Buy One Give One Free

As time went on, we needed more funds and more donations to keep making the masks. So I started the campaign Maskaid. Now we are making, selling and donating to support families on low incomes. Our offer of Buy One Give One Free is a sustainable twist on our obsession with Buy One Get One Free: for every mask you buy we will give one to a family in need.

- The Masks

Finding the fabrics is the best bit. I love recycling. I was tempted to go and buy some new fabric for this project so we could scale up but it didn’t feel right or responsible as I am a strong believer in Slow Fashion. I have worked with a few really good denim brands Blackhorse Lane Ateliers in London, Hiut Denim and Kilim Denim who have supplied tons of kilos of denim. Under the Clothe have supported me from the beginning with lots of stock. Locally many people have donated fabric. As ever, charity shops, vintage trade shows and flea markets are my favourite sources! Some of the prints used in The Hambledon masks are recycled Paul Smith, Liberty and Laura Ashley prints. I have spent a lot of time developing a comfortable design that fits well, is good quality and most importantly, is not disposable.

Where does the money go?

Fieldplay is a not for profit company. All profit generated goes back into the brand, community and sewing group. We supply training, materials and equipments with the funds and are starting to train women to develop their own enterprises.

Maskaid masks are available to buy in store £9.95.