With face masks becoming optional in England from the 19th July, you might be sitting at home wondering what to do with your PPE stash. Well, let us introduce the first wedding dress in the UK made entirely out of face masks!
More than 100 million single-use surgical masks are thrown away in the UK each week and, as guidance changes on face masks, many more are set to be discarded in landfill.
Since surgical masks can't be put in normal household recycling, Hitched got our thinking caps on about a sustainable way to use this leftover PPE and celebrate the return of weddings without restrictions.
Working with film and TV costume design extraordinaire Tom Silverwood - who's made costumes for everything from Doctor Who to Tia Kofi on RuPaul's Drag Race UK - Hitched commissioned a gorgeous dress made out of 1,500 upcycled face masks.
We took our ruffled gown on a tour of London, with model Jemima Hambro posing on Millennium Bridge and outside St Paul's Cathedral. Proving wedding fever has returned in full force, onlookers were desperate for pictures of the one-of-a-kind dress.
The pandemic has hit the wedding industry and engaged couples hard. The UK Wedding Taskforce estimates 375,000 couples have been impacted by the pandemic, as well as the 400,000 people employed by the wedding industry.
It's an incredibly hopeful time as the nations of the UK slowly begin to lift restrict across wedding, starting with England removing all restrictions and Scotland increasing wedding guest numbers to 200.
It's a small gesture, but we hope our face mask wedding dress brings a smile to your face today and fills you with hope that you can celebrate with your loved ones as you planned.
Perhaps it might even convince a few brides to upcycle their own mask dresses?
Sarah Allard, Editor at Hitched, explains: “We're overjoyed that weddings will be returning in England without legal restrictions from today. With thousands of weddings set to take place this summer, couples can now look forward to dancefloors reopening, standing drinks receptions and photographs full of smiling faces with PPE restrictions lifting.
"However, we cannot ignore the waste problem that has been created as a result of the pandemic and now that the guidance on masks at weddings has finally changed, we wanted to create a garment that not only symbolised how far we’ve come both as a united industry and as a nation, but also puts those unused masks to good use!”
"While masks are no longer a legal requirement, we recommend couples, guests and suppliers exercise judgement on the wedding day, but we cannot wait to see dancing, hugging and joyful reunions once more."
Are you planning to ask guests to still wear a mask at your wedding? What will you be doing with your spare masks?