HIGHLAND tartan-weaving mill Prickly Thistle Scotland has launched a subscription service for face masks featuring 100 per cent natural fibre fabric, after a collaboration with the Institute of Occupational Medicine.

Clare Campbell, founder and director of Prickly Thistle, teamed up with the Edinburgh based Institute of Occupational Medicine to test the particle filtration and fit of the wool face mask design “so that the final refined product completely covers the nose and mouth and can be confidently presented to the community for optimal protection”.

Prickly Thistle’s “mask of integrity” will be available for pre-order by mid-October for delivery in November.

The subscription service will equip each customer with two reusable masks.

Prickly Thistle said the regular replacement schedule of these masks would depend on people’s usage habits.

It added that it was “working with Zero Waste Scotland to ensure that all the masks returned as part of this subscription service will be recovered and repurposed”.

Ross Clark, head of occupational hygiene at the Institute of Occupational Medicine, said: This project has been an exciting collaboration. To optimise the product fit, Prickly Thistle Scotland made modifications on-site at the IOM lab working closely with our team of Face Fit Testers. The IOM team were able to demonstrate the filtration abilities of the material, and how the natural materials shaped to wearers’ faces well.”

The Institute of Occupational Medicine was founded as a research charity in 1969 by the National Coal Board, primarily to complete ground-breaking research on lung disease in coal mine workers.

Ms Campbell said: "Now that we have a fully tested sustainable face mask, we can start to mobilise the supply chain and wider Scottish textile industry to meet the pre-order demand. From the yarn suppliers and weavers to the finishers and seamstresses, this is a collaborative endeavour. We have evidenced that the production of the mask of integrity has the power to stimulate the green economic recovery of our industry."