Just because you’re heading towards a poisonous Blade Runner-style dystopia doesn’t mean you can’t look good doing it.
Air pollution isn’t just a Chinese problem; air quality globally has deteriorated, and the UK premature death toll from pollution is estimated at over 29,000 a year. While face masks are a common sight in Asia they have yet to take off properly in the West, but that could soon change as more urbanites become aware of what they’re breathing in every day.
Check out these designers bringing anti-pollution fashion to the fore:
For city-dwellers in China, the choice used to be between drab-looking surgical grade filters or ineffective, cheaply made masks screen-printed with your favourite Hello Kitty character. Founded in California, Vogmask found major success in China by combining both form and function into a fashion accessory with a purpose.
“Vogmask has become the stylish, high filtering, mask of choice for every time you think, “I shouldn’t be breathing this.'”
Freka are another company at the forefront of fashionable filtration. Operating out of Britain, their masks bring a dark urban future style to the streets of London and other major cities. Moving beyond simply defending against pollutants, Freka’s design philosophy emphasises aesthetics and comfort to “create something ‘plus'”.
Squair BB Suit 0.2
Tired of masks? Why not add the BB Suit to your ensemble? Originally conceived as a prototype for Beijing Design Week, this collaboration between fashion company ByBorre and Eindhoven University uses a technology called “Cold Plasma” to create a bubble of clean air around the wearer.
The outfit also has a built-in air quality sensor, which allows the project’s researchers to record where the city air is most polluted. While not available to buy commercially, we hope a finished version will come in colours other than white.
If onesies aren’t your thing, then Catalytic Clothing have you covered (literally). While model and University Professor Helen Storey loves showing off their signature “Herself” dress, the project is actually based around nanotech that can be applied to any clothing (although only tested on cotton for now).
This means that when Catalytic Clothing’s formula goes public any piece of clothing can become an anti-pollution shield after a go in the washing machine. It needs to get popular though, they estimate that 30 wearers every minute need to walk past a spot to have any noticeable effect on overall air quality.