Step Inside: The Story Behind Our Face Masks | Riley Studio

Step Inside: The Story Behind Our Face Masks

by Riley Studio |

When the coronavirus hit the UK we felt incredibly helpless, and we wanted to do whatever we could within our means. We began working with the Emergency Design Network who are leading the charge in coordinating the manufacturing of scrubs for our front line workers and our manufacturer in London has played a huge role, creating over 2000 and counting. 


Through our conversations with the EDN we realised that the need for masks for essential workers in care homes was desperate and whilst they were focusing on scrubs, perhaps we could focus on masks. They kindly shared with us the approved pattern from the Belgium Government, as the UK wouldnt approve a pattern this was the closest we could get to something ‘official’. 


Once we had a sample made up, we reached out to a number of personal contacts who were all thrilled to be offered masks. So we got going. To date, we have made 150 masks for care home workers and we are continuing to speak to a number of contacts to support their needs. 


It was only recently that it became apparent we would all have to start wearing face masks ourselves and we felt this was an easy transition for us to make them for our community as well. 


We obviously had the pattern from Belgium but we wanted to make sure this was the right mask for everyday life. We have tweaked the design to change the original ties to ear loops. The body of the mask is still the same - so government approved - and we just added a built in pocket for a filter, to maximise protection. 


Transparency is a core value of ours so we will continue to tell you how we are getting on and how many we have sent to the care workers. For now, we have answered some of your questions to let you know more about where and how our face masks are made. 


What are the masks made of? 


In line with our brand ethos, the masks are made from dead stock and recycled fabric from our manufacturer and our next batch will be the offcuts from the scrubs so there is zero waste. It's 100% cotton so very soft and breathable and with a tight weave which is important. 

They have a double layer of fabric and we designed a little extra bag so that you can safely store them when you’re not wearing them. 



Where are they made? 


We are making our masks at Tower Garments, near London. The team has been amazing, working on the scrubs for the EDN throughout the lockdown whilst supporting us with our masks. 

We went to see the team this week, all with strict social distancing measures in place and of course wearing our masks, but it was so great to see the process. The quality of the masks is amazing which is important to us as we never want to make anything that wouldn't last. 



How do I know what size fits? 


In terms of sizing - we felt one size doesn't fit all! 

We wanted to keep it very simple so have just amended the length of the ear loops keeping the body of the mask the same. The medium is the smaller size, and the large has 2cm more elastic to fit around bigger heads! 


How do I look after them? 


Our masks are fully machine washable, and in line with the Government’s advice we would suggest you wash them once a day at 60 degrees. 

We designed a small bag to store and protect your masks safely . We would recommend you sanitize your hands before taking it off to maximise protection.


How have we priced them? 


For us, this isn’t an exercise in making money, it was something we were doing quietly in the background and will continue to do to support the care workers that desperately need masks. We priced our masks so that the cost of the mask is covered, and the money made can make an additional mask for a care worker. We are continuing our own production for the care homes but by purchasing a mask from us, it helps support this production and hopefully allow us to meet the ever increasing demand.


When will they be delivered? 


A huge thank you to everyone who has already ordered a mask, we have been blown away by the support. 

We should be getting our first batch delivered this weekend (23rd May) so we will start packaging them up and posting them out shortly. It is just us packing them up from our own house as we really didn't want to add any costs onto them, which we would get if processed through our fulfilment centre, so please bear with us!