Future of the Fashionable Gas Mask


Gas Mask Fashion. Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

How will fashion and pollution infulence our future facial wear? As we upgrade our intrinsically cybernetic body with air filters and even oxygen masks to cope with failing air quality, will we put a bit of sparkle into the presentation?

The above design comes to us from the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology School of Apparel Design Graduates Show during the 2014 China Graduate Fashion Week in Beijing, China. Naturally, air quality is an area of concern in major Chinese population centers, where air pollution and the realities of packed urban living. We share our air with everyone else, with the pathogens that breed in the urban Petri dish, as well as with our vehicles and factories. And if we're forced to live in a poisoned world, why not look good doing it?

(Underwood Archives/Getty)

This is the fashion world of course. As with all art forms, it's more about the resonance of an idea and pure aesthetics rather than practical use. But it's not the first time we've played with the idea of fashionable gas masks in a poisoned world. To your right, see "the very latest fashion in air raid shelter wear" in 1939 London. Just slip on dressing gown complete with hood or enjoy the zippered trouser option.

Become the cybernetic creature that can survive, but don't forget to look presentable.

Now let's look at another outfit from the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology School of Apparel Design Graduates Show during the 2014 China Graduate Fashion Week:

Filter your air in style.
Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.