Runway facemasks: Anti-smog devices turn into fashion accessory in China
By Xie Zhenqi

2017-02-16 21:34:31

By CGTN’s Martina Fuchs
Anti-pollution masks are increasingly turning into fashion objects and hitting the catwalks in China and around the globe. Designer Wang Zhijun recently produced a face mask made from an Adidas sneaker designed by Kanye West.
Artist Wang Zhijun produces funky anti-smog masks from sneakers. / CGTN Photo
Wang put the mask up for sale on eBay China in October, drawing a bid of more than $5,000. He has since made around 20 unique smog masks out of expensive sport shoes, such as Nike, Adidas, and New Balance.
Wang Zhijun's latest collection of masks on display at an art space in Beijing / CGTN Photo
International designers, such as Vogmask in California or Swedish company Airinum, have also spotted the opportunity, producing both functional and fashionable masks.
Sweden's Airinum eyes the massive Chinese market to sell its Scandinavian designs. / CGTN Photo
The face mask industry is not the only sector benefiting from the smog. With the frequent so-called "airpocalypse" in Northeastern China, the rapidly growing middle class, urbanization, and increasing consumer spending on lifestyle products, more and more people in China are shopping for air purifiers. 
Blueair air purifiers exhibited at a press conference in Beijing in February, 2017. / CGTN Photo
Industry research shows that the air purifiers market in China is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 18% from 2016-2021. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits. Parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, India, China, and the Middle East remain the biggest regional danger spots.