Our face masks are born out of a desire for our customers, our guests and our staff to feel as confident as possible whilst going about their daily lives. It is through close collaboration with our suppliers, and a shared commitment to minimal waste in everything we do that we have been able to create face masks that are comfortable to wear, whilst also staying true to our philosophy of treading lightly.
MADE WITH MINIMAL WASTE
We rely on the earth’s generous resources to create our collections, and with this comes the responsibility to treat every ingredient or material that we use with the utmost care and respect. One part of this is avoiding waste where possible at every stage of the production journey. When we place our orders with the mills that create the fabric for our clothing, we are scrupulous with our calculations and order only the meters of fabric we need. Even with great care taken at this initial stage, there tend to be a few cuttings left over that we store for the future.
In March, as the demand for personal protection in the form of masks and other equipment steadily rose, we felt a responsibility to contribute in whatever way possible to meet this need and so we decided to use these off-cuts to turn them into non-medical face covers.
Our gingham face masks are made from a tightly woven cotton and linen blend fabric featured in our SS20 collection: you may have seen it in our Jubilee Top and Sailing Dress. Made in Italy at the same factory that produces our clothing collections, each mask is triple-layered, which ensures a basic level of protection whilst still being breathable. We have finished our masks with our signature Bamford “b” heart button – our commitment to you that the mask has been created with as much care and intention as would a piece of our clothing.
As well as the uplifting gingham styles, we have also been able to safely prepare a white organic cotton mask using some left over Swiss organic cotton that we originally used as part of our AW18 collection – it is the finest organic shirting available and we often return to it season after season for its sustainable credentials and supreme quality.
To be effective, face coverings must be washed regularly so it is useful to have more than one mask per person to allow for changeover and washing days: for this reason, we have provided each member of Bamford staff with five organic cotton masks each to ensure our valued teams feel protected when they are travelling to and from work or when in smaller indoor spaces, and that customers will feel reassured in our stores or spas that we are taking every possible measure.
SUPPORTING ARTISAN COMMUNITIES
During the lockdown period, Artisan communities in India who rely on the support of brands and designers have felt the impact of cancelled orders and unfulfilled payments. We depend on the skill and expertise of our Artisan makers and have been determined to support our partners throughout this trying period. We’re pleased to have been able to provide a source of productivity to our block printers in Bagru, Jaipur who are developing masks for us using spare material from our AW20 collection. The studio had only recently been safely working on production for the clothing collection and they had a small amount of block-printed organic cotton left over - just enough to skillfully turn into masks. Our capsule collection of block-printed masks are expected to launch in July.
The power of digital communication has enabled us to work with these more remote factories in India during a time when travel has not been possible - demonstrating that global collaboration is possible without needlessly adding to our carbon footprint. Our in-house design team, who have been working from home here in the UK, and the studio in India have been sending photos back and forth to discuss samples of the masks to ensure they are fit for purpose. ‘I have seen photos of them tried on various people in the factory so that we can be happy with the fit,’ comments our Head Designer. ‘It also means I have seen evidence of all of the hand sanitisation stations in the factory, so I know that all of our makers are not putting themselves at risk, which is really important to us.’
A sustainable solution
We make clothing and create products, and to do so we use the earth’s resources, but there are things we can to do lessen our environmental impact. This needs to start with a careful assessment of our entire supply chain – to trace it right back to the raw materials and to look at where those products may end up – and when. We are constantly examining our path and striving towards treading even more lightly.