If you’re tired of wearing a DIY or cheap throwaway mask, this new hoodie offers another option: a built-in mask. It is made from a material that can (theoretically) filter out more germs than an N95 mask, and zips up into the hood—which is itself also a filter. The hoodie, available for preorder now, is the latest design from G95, a company that also makes scarves that double as air filters.
Founder Carlton Solle launched the company three years ago after getting sick on a business trip to China. A doctor informed him that high levels of air pollution might be the cause. Solle was reluctant to wear a mask, but as a regular traveller in China, he realised that he needed to protect himself. He started making scarves with built-in filtration, and then created a company to sell them to others. “It turned out there were a lot of people like me who didn’t want to wear a mask, and wanted an alternative,” he comments.
Initial customers were travellers, followed by people with health conditions like autoimmune disorders, cancer, and allergies. Others have used the products as protection from wildfire smoke. Now, Solle says, there has been a surge of interest because of the coronavirus crisis.
There is an entire halo of protection in the hood of the hoodie, wholly made from the company’s filtration material. For anyone who wants to wear something even more like a hazmat suit, the company also sells protective goggles which could be combined with the hoodie. But the built-in mask, pulled tight with a bungee at the back of the hood, is likely to be a first barrier of defence.
The company estimates that it can be washed 50 times before the filtration efficiency begins to decrease.