Have haute hazmat, will travel


Masks or face coverings of some sort are soon going to be mandatory in stores across England. In the US too, some prominent retail brands now require customers to wear face masks in their stores. Think Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy.

Now, the world of fashion is thinking of another defence against the coronavirus — the hazmat travel suit.

Naomi Campbell, one of the five original supermodels and a confirmed germaphobe, appears to have been an early adopter (or trailblazer).

“Safety First NEXT LEVEL,” Campbell posted on Instagram in March, the very day the WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

Campbell’s photo showed a stylishly white-suited figure with a matching suitcase and coordinated sneakers.

Then a Canadian company decided to launch a product called the BioVYZR. It’s basically like a hood with a tightly-sealed anti-fogging helmet and a built-in respirator device that provides 12 hours of clean, filtered air from a lithium battery-operated blower.

The hood covers the head, face and chest, looks a bit like a visor. It is secured by a chest harness.

The contraption is made from silicone, neoprene, and vinyl.

Yezin Al Qaysi, co-founder VYZR Technologies, which moved sideways into the proto-hazmat suit after specializing in personal protective gear, recently explained why it made sense.

We’ve taken a product usually limited to health care and industrial settings that’s typically priced around $1,800 and adapted it to be accessible to the public.

Yezin Al Qaysi, co-founder VYZR Technologies

The BioVYZR, which is sold with the tagline “the evolution of personal protection”, costs $250. It also advertises itself as enabling “self isolation without the social distancing”.

No one is sure the half-hazmat will become the must-have clothes accessory for the pandemic age.

The company reportedly sold 50,000 suits on pre-order and the first batch of deliveries will get to customers later this month. But the jury is out on whether this will be a short interlude of crazy couture or a fashion moment that shapes a decade.