VOLVO Car Malaysia, Three Little Ahmads and NanoTextile have come together to launch a collection of antimicrobial face masks, known collectively as the “Volvo Batik Reusable Facemasks”.
In addition to bringing more sustainable alternatives to disposable face masks, the project employs the workmanship of local communities to support their livelihoods after facing unemployment and adversities due to the pandemic.
Locally designed by Three Little Ahmads – a Malaysian-founded children’s clothing brand and social enterprise – the face masks are ethically sourced, made and produced by single mothers, women in rural neighbourhoods and GIATMara vocational alumnus, whose jobs were displaced due to retail factory closures during the Movement Control Order in March last year.
For each face mask produced, an individual from this target community group will be fairly compensated.
Volvo Car Malaysia marketing and public relations director, Akhtar Sulaiman says this collaboration falls in line with Volvo’s core philosophy of “omtanke”, which is a Swedish word and Volvo’s brand ethos that means “to care and to be considerate”.
“We are honoured to lend a helping hand to local communities and sustain their livelihoods, especially during these economically challenging and vulnerable times.”
As an automotive company with one of the most ambitious climate goals in the industry, Volvo Cars is also committed to protecting and improving the environment and wider society.
One of the impending environmental concerns to come out from the current pandemic is the disposal of single-use surgical masks, which could end up in landfills or the oceans as nano-plastics.
Recognising that disposable masks are a fast-growing environmental concern, this three-way partnership produces reusable fabric face masks with a unique “batik tekap” pattern as a tribute to Malaysian art.
“When we received the brief from Volvo Car Malaysia, we took a more contemporary spin by creating one-of-a-kind batik stamps based on three flowers: sunflower, stargazer lily and jasmine – flowers that are not normally seen in traditional batik. With the help of nanotechnology and innovation, the face masks are both safe and fashionable for public use,” says Three Little Ahmads founder and fashion Designer, Datin Azrene Ahmad.
Each face mask has been crafted with the wearer’s health in mind. Designed and assembled by hand, each mask is made up of 100 per cent cotton, is antibacterial and water-repellent and provides bacterial and viral protection for up to 100 gentle washes.
NanoTextile, the company behind the face mask’s antibacterial qualities, is a progressive textile company in Malaysia that offers leading technology solutions in textile production.
Taking into account cost, production wastage, product lifespan and potential health risks, NanoTextile employs nanotechnology to reduce the penetration of contaminated droplets and prevent possible infection of the fabric by viruses or bacteria.
The addition of a PM 2.5 filter provides a fifth layer of protection and has been tested to effectively filter out 90 per cent of viral particles.
“Nanotechnology opens the door to a whole new way of processing materials in the textile industry. We’re looking at better quality fabrics made from a greater variety of materials, including nano-plastics. Through this partnership, we hope to showcase the potential of nanotechnology as one of the solutions to environmental pollution, and also in producing better quality materials,” says NanoTextile chief executive Officer, Dr Thomas Ong.
The face masks come in a set of three, with two available size options – medium and large. Each set comes in three colour variations, which are Dark Blue (sunflower), Navy Blue (stargazer lily), and Sky Blue (jasmine). Retailing at RM99 per set, the masks are currently available for purchase at Volvo dealerships nationwide.