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  Masked in style

Masked in style

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Nov 8, 2016, 10:04 pm IST
Updated : Nov 8, 2016, 10:04 pm IST

Pollution masks are not just the new necessity but also fashion accessory. Masks in vivid butterfly, paisley and abstract prints in a burst of colours are flying off the shelves in the city.

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 ind.jpg

Pollution masks are not just the new necessity but also fashion accessory. Masks in vivid butterfly, paisley and abstract prints in a burst of colours are flying off the shelves in the city.

Delhi has experienced the worst smog in 17 years. Okay, not exactly the news flash! As the toxic smog continues to engulf the national capital, Delhiites have found a stylish yet utilitarian way to avoid the poisonous air. There has been a sharp rise in the demand and sale of air pollution masks. According to suppliers and sellers, it’s now quite the must-have fashion commodity among the stylish Delhi crowd. Apart from the usual white, grey and green surgical masks, a range of designer masks are available in markets like Khan Market, Greater Kailash, Green Park, Yusuf Sarai and Saket for the fashion conscious Delhiite.

 

Jai Dhar Gupta, owner of Nirvana Being, the official sellers of Vogmasks in India, says that air pollution masks, especially the trendy looking ones, are hot sellers. He shares, “Last year we teamed up with ace fashion designer Manish Arora and launched a stylish variant that comes in the vivid butterfly, paisley, and star prints, among several others. These designs made an appearance at Paris Fashion Week last year. And these are our best selling bunch. Though they are considerably more expensive than the regular masks that usually cost under Rs 100, clearly it is a price that Delhi’s residents are willing to pay given the ‘gas chamber’ conditions in India’s national capital.”

 

He reveals that over the past week, sales of respiratory masks have surged, with many locals even lining up for hours at his stores in Khan Market and Nehru Place, totally buying out all offline and online supplies. He adds, “People lack thorough awareness about air pollution and importance of masks. People are covering themselves with surgical masks, stoles and handkerchiefs without understanding that these items filter the exhaled air and not the inhaled air. Thus, most people are still inhaling the polluted air filled with nanoparticles. A good mask comprises an outer layer of polyester microfibre printed with non-toxic vegetable-based inks. The middle layer is an N99 polypropylene filter. The final active carbon layer is derived from coconut shells. It also has a one-way exhale valve and two ear loops. A basic Vogmask costs around `1,800 and the price goes up to `2,800.”

 

Sumit Bedi of IndiaMART shares that city’s youngsters are trying to make a style statement by buying masks in different colours like light blue, shades of pink available at different online portals. He adds, “One of the hottest selling anti-pollution masks is N-95 particulate respirator mask. There are variants of the same available at a price range starting Rs 60 to Rs 1,000. Earlier, we used to get enquiries for just 5-10 masks a day but that has shot up to 50 per day. Another variant of masks highly in demand are Totobobo masks that claim to be highly efficient with sub-micron filtration performance. Overall, the demand for anti-pollution masks and air purifiers has seen a surge by 20 per cent in past one week. Given the alarming situation, many customers, excluding youngsters of course, are not that concerned about the colours but are more keen on the effectiveness of the product.”

 

Be it the neighbourhood chemists or ecommerce bigwigs like Amazon.in, who state that sales of masks have jumped six times in the last few days with demand being 13 times over last year, the bulk of their buyers are from north India, led by Delhi. Dettol Air Protect mask is the bestseller on Amazon, followed by Atlanta Healthcare Cambridge N99 mask.