How Our Sustainable Face Coverings Are Made

Byknownsupply May 13, 2020

KNOWN SUPPLY sustainable face coverings

Made in USA. Made with impact in mind.

At KNOWN SUPPLY, making new products is not something we take lightly. Before any new item is introduced for sale we consider whether we can deliver on our mission of providing meaningful employment, producing something sustainably and sharing the story of the makers.

As mentioned in this previous post we were initially against the idea of producing face coverings, in large part because we didn’t see how we could accomplish our above mission while our global fair trade partners were not operating. And time was of the essence as requirements for cloth face coverings were being put in place across the nation.

So, we made a few calls around to our local partners — those who occasionally sew on labels, screen print or embroider our products — to see if they were exploring ways to pivot their operations and keep people employed.

That’s when we learned about the incredible work of our friends at HPO embroidery…

Like so many small businesses, their jobs for embroidery and silk screening had completely dried up due to the pandemic. As a result, they had no work for their team and they were effectively going to have to shut down everything for the foreseeable future. But then they decided to get creative…

Repurposing and revitalizing some sewing machines they had on hand, they were able to set up a small sewing line to begin producing cloth face coverings. When we connected with them they were in the early stages of getting these made improving their processes.

As a result they were able to bring back 15 people to work full-time making these items. That’s 15 people in our community who would otherwise be out of work, but are currently employed because of these face coverings and the incredible support of our community.

The next question we had was what fabric to use. Since sustainability is such a core part of what makes KNOWN SUPPLY product special we didn’t want to compromise by utilizing just any fabric we could get our hands on. Instead, we decided to look at our own inventory and considering clothing styles that had odd sizing or were made in past seasons.

We recognized the opportunity to turn these existing clothing items into brand new masks. As anyone who cares about sustainability knows, repurposing fabrics that were already made is one of the absolute best things you can do.

Lastly, we wanted to introduce you to the people behind these new KNOWN SUPPLY face coverings. Below, meet 7 of the makers who are sewing these masks and know the impact of your purchase is putting these women to work. Isn’t that an incredible feeling btw?!

If you would like to write a note to these incredible makers, please leave a comment below!


Photos by Foxes and Wolves.


ana spalding

May 13, 2020

These look great! And I really appreciate that they're made locally with communities in need of jobs. Would you consider making them with a tie or adjustable elastic around the back of the head instead of over the ears? Also, do they have a slit for a filter?



May 14, 2020

Thanks for your feedback and questions. These current face coverings do not have a pocket for a filter. We are always looking at ways to improve our products so we will note your feedback on further rounds of product development.

Woody Bernard

May 13, 2020

Thanks for the mask. It’s comfortable and does the job.


May 19, 2020

I LOVE my mask, so much so I ordered a few more. Thank you all so much for creating sustainable clothing and supporting livable wages and a local workforce. What you are doing is amazing and THANK YOU to all the wonderful humans making these masks for all of us!



May 19, 2020

Wow Missy. This made our day. Our work is only made possible thanks to the support of incredible people like yourself. So, THANK YOU!


May 21, 2020

Love my comfortable mask so far! Do you happen to know very roughly what the thread count is for a single layer? I ask because of new research showing effectiveness of different cotton cloth thread counts in the mask performance.



May 21, 2020

We're so glad to hear you like your mask! While I don't have the specific thread count I can tell you that the weight (or density) of the fabric is 150 grams per square meter. This is higher than a traditional t-shirt. What we believe to be even more important than that is the fact that the face coverings are 3 layers thick. We did this for increased comfort and protection.

Anne Marie

June 2, 2020

Love these masks and the fact they’re made in a sustainable way! ! They’re very comfortable! I might have to order more!

Laurie Craft

June 3, 2020

Great masks - not sure if they’re intended to be reversible, but I have been using them that way! Thanks - so glad I was able to contribute to keeping folks employed!!


June 7, 2020

Thanks producing these soft, sustainable masks. They feel like my favorite cozy sweatshirt. Stay well, team!


June 14, 2020

I love these face masks as well and wanted to show my support for the “philosophy” behind them...humanity first!!


July 26, 2020

My family loves these beautifully made, extra soft masks! They are the only ones my boys like to wear. Thank you for making them. Sending wishes of good health and well-being from my family to all of you and yours.


October 7, 2020

Honestly, I wish our world were not having to wear masks, but given that we need to, I am pleased to know that you have repurposed the fabrics you use in your garments and put lots of love into making these for all people. Bless you. Peace, Karen

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