Swine Flu in Fashion

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Published April 30, 2009

 

In the fast paced world of swine flu, who has time to differentiate between a high-tech respirator and a regular bandana? Not the brave souls behind Flu Fashion N95 Masks. Are you a part-time farm hand? Did you make the mistake of your life in Cancun? (Or are looking forward to doing so?) Did a pig recently move into your neighborhood? Did you break kosher and eat pork? Netflix Deliverance? Then you need the N95 medical grade respirator, or so its makers claim via email.

In the past, respirators were bulky apparatuses with obtrusive filters in the front, or dowdy paper envelope-looking things, more appropriate for a walk through Tokyo or the set of a naughty nurse film than a walk down New York’s fashionable St. Mark’s Place. That’s why we’re happy the past is behind us, all of its lessons forgotten: N95’s respirators are designed to filter our viral pathogens and protect your respiratory system, without hurting your fashionable reputation. The “95” in the name means the mask, if properly fitted, can filter out particles down to .3 microns 95 percent of the time. And, like a pair of jeans, the makers warn, “the fit is a big if.” We know a certain high-end boutique on Grand Street that might just stock a new accessories line!

Human coronaviruses (like the swine flu) measure between .1 and .2 microns, which is clearly below the cutoff of .5 microns. But in the fast-paced world of swine flu, there’s little time to worry about things like microns. Nor is there time to consider whether these respirators are more than delicately folded bandanas, in blue or red paisley or a psychedelic tye dye. You can get a set of six for just 33.90, including shipping.