Shanghaiist recently took note of all of the fashionable facemasks turning up on young wearers in Beijing and Shanghai but this isn’t the only new twist to what is now unfortunately new a necessity of life for urban residents in China. Vogmask has just released a line of pint-sized facemasks that are tailored for kids’ faces – a depressing sign of our times, perhaps, but it’s a development that parents will appreciate.
We asked Chris Dobbing, Director of Vogmask China, to explain a bit more about this new line of masks:
Could you share your background with us? How did you get into the facemask business?
I am from Oxford in the UK and graduated from Cambridge University several years ago. I was previously doing education consultancy in Beijing and have interviewed hundreds of students at international and Chinese state schools for summer programmes in the UK.
One of my favourite questions for Chinese students is “What is the biggest challenge for China in the next 10 years?” Around 90% say air pollution. Most state schools still make students go outdoors to do exercises even on really bad AQI days (although Beijing Number 4 just changed their policy).
I want to get the masks made part of the school uniform in all schools so that students can still exercise, but do it safely. Almost every student is aware of what a huge issue the air is, and that it could be permanently damaging them. We have put every possible effort into making an anti-pollution mask that is comfortable, effective and safe.
We are very passionate about Vogmask, and we know how worried many parents are about the air pollution in China. Many years of research and testing effort have gone into its production, and it’s something that we are very proud of. The N99 certification verifies that it is the world’s leading microfiber facemask, and we hope that your readers will like it.
When will these masks be available to Beijing buyers and where will we be able to purchase them?
The adult masks are available now for purchase. The child masks are being made in Korea now, and will be in Beijing from early July. They will also be available from vogmask.cn. We are still talking to retailers, but have a lot of interest!
Is there a link citing the US FDA requirement certification?
If you go to www.vogmask.cn and click ‘The Masks’ you can see an explanation video and download PDFs of all the relevant documents. We have just been certified to N99, meaning that the masks filter 99% of particulate matter (most leading masks are N95 at best).
It seems that some Beijing international schools are placing orders for these masks for their students – can you elaborate and share which schools will be doing/have done so?
We have confirmed an order with The International Montessori School of Beijing (MSB) and are talking to several other large schools. We are also starting to talk to hospitals and hope to get them into hotels and
Have you had any other feedback from parents about their kids wanting or not wanting to wear the masks?
We have four families in Beijing testing the masks out now and will have feedback in next week.
Other than Vogmask, will there be any other mask brands following suit with child friendly sizes?
I believe Infipure are going to put out a small size, and Totobobo also have a mask you can cut down. But I believe their minimum age is 5+, so not suitable for infants and toddlers (we have 0-5 and 6-12). 3M have a kids mask, but it’s estimated to only fit 40% of face sizes, and they’re just not worth having if you don’t have a good seal (you get this information from the quantitative fit testing data, fit factor – ours is 139, which exceeds us FDA requirements by almost 140%.). I believe Totobobo is 136 and obviously Infipure is almost impossible to test without having surgery.
Any other exciting developments in air filtration/mask technology coming our way?
Yes, we have masks with a unique valve system being developed – this would make the masks even better for heavy exercise. Great for cyclists and runners who like to be outdoors.