Written by our lovely intern, Memphis Bourne Blue!
In Australia and across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned facemasks into an important part of our everyday lives and outfits. Given that most facemasks are ‘single-use’ or disposable, we at The Social Outfit saw this as an opportunity to produce a more sustainable option. We also recognised that for many individuals from vulnerable communities, ‘single-use’ face masks are not a financially sustainable option, and often it is these individuals that are in most dire need of protection, with little option to work from home and avoid public transport. It was out of this challenge that the B1-G1 Face Mask and B1-G1 Initiative was born.
So, we hear you ask, what does B1-G1 stand for anyway? While it might not be a technical production term, it does stand for something incredibly important: buy one, give one. For each B1-G1 Face Mask sold in-store and online, we have pledged to donate one to someone in need.
In delivering the donated masks to those who needed them most, we collaborated with charity partners and community groups. One of these partners, Two Good, is an organisation that distributes meals to those in need and as part of its ‘eat one, treat one’ initiative since 2015, has been working to feed and support domestic violence survivors. Started 10 years ago in Kings Cross, Sydney, Two Good has since served over 160,000 meals to women in refuges in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Along with their donated meals, Two Good has been distributing the donated B1-G1 Face Masks to women’s shelters across Sydney and NSW including Wirawee Aboriginal Women's Refuge, Blacktown Women's Refuge, The Marian Centre, Katoomba Women's Refuge and Bonnie's Support Services.
Holly* a recipient of one of our B1G1 masks said "I normally don't like to wear masks, but this one is so comfortable and beautiful... I love it!"
With the Covid-19 lockdown making delivery of our in-person classes impossible, many of our programs had to pivot to online formats. Participants in the Ginger & Smart Tote Bag Earn and Learn Program were eager to learn how to make facemasks for their communities, and our Production Manager Joss taught them how via online classes. In the past few weeks, demand has been incredibly high for our B1-G1 Face Masks, both online and in-store. This influx of support for the face masks and the initiative, has allowed us to extend employment to some of the women from the Earn and Learn Program who are all of refugee and new migrant background!
The B1G1 masks are sustainable as they are made from remnant fabric and can be washed and worn over and over again. Making the facemasks has helped us to keep our seamstresses from refugee and new migrant backgrounds working and earning, and the B1-G1 initiative has also enabled The Social Outfit to donate masks to the women’s communities. Meher, a participant in the Ginger & Smart Tote Bag Earn and Learn Program, spoke with us about how The Social Outfit’s donated masks made a community food drive possible. “I just really appreciate the contribution that The Social Outfit made to our association.”
To be a part of the B1-G1 initiative and protect yourself and those around you with a stylish and sustainable mask, click here. If we're sold out, don't fret - we restock each Sunday morning at 10AM!
*Holly’s name has been changed to protect her identity.