(in our opinion!)
As a design-led accessories brand, Ed and I were intrigued by the idea of introducing a face mask or face covering to our range. As this year has developed it has become quite clear that face masks are an accessory that will be with us for the foreseeable.
Collaborating with British knitwear manufacturers, Mars Knitwear, inspired by our metal hues, we have created ion knitted face masks in a copper colour, a brass colour and a steel colour. These knitted face coverings are designed to be flexible, breathable and most importantly, hygienic.
Flexible. The face mask is designed using a three-dimensional knitted pattern (think fly-knit). This allows the fabric to have a knitted structure with flexibility to ensure it fits snugly and comfortably around your nose and mouth. Fitting snugly is key to protection. It also prevents your mask causing your glasses to steam when you breathe.
Breathable. The three-dimensional knitted form is designed to give you an internal space between the mask and your breathing area. This prevents the mask having direct contact with your nostrils and your mouth, which are the main reasons for, over-heating, claustrophobia, irritation and itching.
Hygienic. The innovation of our face masks lie in the knitted form, but also the yarn that we are using to knit with. The face mask is made up of three layers. An inner layer, a connecting layer and an outer layer. The clean bright white yarn used as the inner layer is the DIOLEN®. This hygienic, silver-based yarn is antimicrobial, provides protection against bacteria, allergens, and germs and is easy on the skin. DIOLEN® hygienic silver ions, which are permanently embedded in the polymer, affect the molecular structure of microorganisms. They impede the necessary metabolism and interrupt the cell division process of bacteria. Even in the warm and humid environment between skin and clothes, while doing sports or labour-intensive work, bacteria are hardly able to reproduce, and related odours never occur.
Beyond these three features the masks are reusable, comfortable and colourful.
Reusable. We have tested 45 washes to date and are still testing with no limit so far.
Comfortable. We have knitted a width to the ear strap that sits on the backside of your ear to be more comfortable, and to reduce the ache you get with standard elastics.
Colourful. We have taken inspiration from the hues of our signature aerospace metals. Copper, brass and steel were the stimulus for the face masks colour ways. We knitted with a three-yarn mix and developed a cheerful palette that suits all skin tones.
Made in Britain. We searched for UK, for innovation, for a ‘yes’ team that we could create and experiment with, and for history and expertise. Kate Hills from Make it British was really helpful in connecting us with a number of relevant manufacturers and makers, and it was through her that I was introduced to the wonderful Yusuf of Mars Knitwear. As Yusuf mentions also, it really was like meeting an old friend. Our values aligned and we talked from the same sheet, excited by the same passions and drivers. Our conversations were always far longer than they needed to be…but this was out of choice!
Alice and Said
Mars Knitwear is run by an immensely experienced leadership team (over 70 years) by the names of Said and Keith. Passion for their business runs through their veins and a one-hour meeting soon turned into an afternoon of stories, conversations, ideas and experiments. This is not true of all manufacturers, but this is what I inherently love about the best of British manufacturing. It is this passion and expertise, together with innovation, responsibility and transparency that has come together in our reusable, hygienic face masks.
Alice at the Mars factory
The knitting machine
The mask knitting. The blue yarn is used as a mask separator. It is recycled yarn from deconstructed samples and end of line pieces.
The creative process of this project has been really positive. Working with a local manufacturer and its experts (always!) it left us extremely optimistic about navigating the future, pivoting to accommodate change and the importance of collaboration. I personally believe that this is one of the best face masks on the market and feel that this is just the start of our relationship with Mars Knitwear…and I think they agree!
“Absolute precision, impeccable quality, breathtaking design, and a drive for perfection are values that we've held dearly for the last 20 years. It's not often we find another company which shares such a vision, and when we do, we're naturally drawn to them like seeing an old friend after many years.
When our companies were introduced we recognised how Mars' ethos was echoed through Alice Made This. Not just in the timeless designs but that we found another company that prided itself on being a UK Manufacturer. A quick phone call cemented our initial thoughts that we were in professional company and ideas of a collaboration we're indefinite. How we were going to blend knitwear and jewellery wasn't immediately obvious, but we knew immediately that we needed to collaborate.
What's more exciting to us is that this is just the beginning”
Yusuf, Mars Knitwear
To shop our face masks click here