With Chinese air pollution levels are getting worse over the years, a new trend has appeared in the past few years in China:


Function meets Fashion

Although a certain part of the population still thinks the smog is fog, as the authorities told them it is,   more and more Chinese consumers are becoming aware of the dangers of pollution. In fact in 2010 there were more than 1 million deaths caused by the air pollution in China. Last year Beijing’s air pollution situation even got nicknamed “airpocalypse” since the presence of particle in the air got higher than the maximum ever measured. According to the U.S. State Department standards, there has been only 25 days of “good” air quality in Beijing between April 2008 and March 2014.


Air quality is not improving, and will not be anytime soon given China’s rapid urbanization. This is why the pollution mask has become necessary to Chinese citizens willing to protect their health. However the sad period of the “chirurgical looks” of these kinds of masks are over since the fashion designers decided that function will meet fashion.


Fashion designers are launching a new trend

The breathing masks market was originally dominated by companies like Totobobo and 3M. These masks manufacturers preferred to put forward the protection criteria, with scientific proof that their masks filtered the dangerous air particles.

3M mask


But this is about to change as fashion designers are creating both aesthetic and safe masks. This year’s Fashion shows have therefore seen a lot of trendy breathing masks appear on runways.Paris Fashion Week discovered the Chinese designer Masha Ma’s breathing masks made of luxury materials such as satin and Swarovski crystals.

masha ma paris

The Hong Kong Fashion Week runway welcomed the Nina Griffee designer show who partnered with Vogmask on the breathing masks side..

nina girffee


Just like Totobobo and 3M, Vogmask has the scientific proof that their masks are safe. The company also chose to combine the safety with a large choice of colors and patterns, to offer to their customers.  In June, Florence runways saw Marcelo Burlon’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection coming accompanied with masks from Respro. The UK company has been selling masks in the Chinese market for over 12 years. It has seen a growing demand of pollution masks in recent years as pollution worsened.


Growing market

Chinese are becoming more well-informed about their country’s air pollution dangerousness for their health. They therefore want effective pollution masks that they can feel comfortable wearing. Pollution masks brands are turning their products masks into trendy accessories because they want their products to be considered a necessity by the fashion-conscious Chinese consumers. And as China is still far from resolving its pollution issues, there will be a growing demand for these new accessories.

Promoting online

Earlier this year, Max Factor, a company willing to advertise their new eye makeup line launched an online contest to win some of their new products. The players of the contest had to post selfies with breathing masks on, the brand’s “Smog Busters” campaign received 33,000 hashtags on selfies posted on Weibo.


This new trend is therefore gaining visibility online but still needs to be advertised to spread to lower tier cities. That is what understood the Italian retailer Yoox that partnered with several famous Chinese designers such as Masha Ma, Qiu Hao, Sankuanz, and Xander Zhou to sell their pollution masks on its online website under a special category of the website called “Yooxygen”.



smog yooxygen

Chinese fashion designers are beginning to win their bet of the challenge they took to transform pollution masks into fashion product. Fashionistas all around China have already begun to wear them and it’s only the beginning of the trend considering China’s air pollution issue is not improving.


To go further:

  1. CNN
  2. Our agency to help you understand China’s last fashion trends 
  3. Things you should know about the Fashion week in Shanghai 2015
  4. Top Trends in Fashion
  5. Top Tips for Marketing In Fashion industry
  6. All the articles about Fashion in China are here