New Summer Trend? Patterned Masks To Combat Bushfire Smoke Sold To Help Firies
As parts of Australia face a smoky summer, face masks are fast becoming part of the wardrobe.
The NSW bushfires continue to blanket smoke across parts of the state, and experts say there's no end to the poor air conditions in sight.
As a result, face masks are flying off the shelves, with many stores declaring they've sold out.
The demand prompted four Sydneysiders to create a range of P2 masks 'with a difference' -- featuring iconic Australian imagery.
Smoggys is the brainchild of Bec Drummond, Marco Del Castillo, Lucas Fowler and Jack Burton.
The group told 10 daily they came up with the business idea last week when Sydney experienced air quality levels at 12 times the hazardous level.
They were motivated to get their masks out to the public as soon as they could.
"We are so passionate about this, and not just what's happening currently with the fires but the impact this has on the broader community," a spokeswoman for the group said.
"There was also media coverage at the time which matched that, saying the smoke haze was equivalent to smoking a packet of cigarettes."
Stores around Sydney have previously told 10 daily the demand for face masks has been "crazy" and sales of air purifiers have been "unprecedented".
But Smoggys is not just about making face masks.
All proceeds from the sales of the mask will be donated to the Rural Fire Service.
"The purchaser can wear them to help eliminate some of that smoke but at the same time, with all proceeds going directly to the RFS, help them in their fight towards stopping the bushfires," they said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up with a goal of $10,000 to help with the costs of sourcing the products and actualize the business.
Since Smoggys' launch only a week ago, they have reached just over half the amount needed.
"We are still aiming to get to the $10,000 mark by Wednesday, but given the feedback and moment behind Smoggys we will continue for a little while longer to raise the funds," they said.
"The fire conditions are predicted to go for longer than normal, giving us time to continue to rally behind this cause and get Smoggys and donations out there."
There are currently six designs -- thongs, koalas, bananas, ice creams, a summer BBQ and the iconic bin chicken -- that reflect iconic trends in Australian pop culture.
"For Australians, wearing P2 masks isn't something that we are used to as a country, but we aren't used to having our air quality compared to nations that need to wear them either," Smoggys said.
"So we really wanted to showcase Australians coming together, as well as prints that make us uniquely Australian."
Each design has been tied back to the ethos and mission of Smoggys.
"For example, with the ice cream design, we've recognised a big part of summer is sitting by the sea on the sand looking up at the clear blue skies," they said.
"With the smog that is taking over the city, the clear doesn't exist, so it's a motivator for us to bring that feeling and the sky back."
While this may be an unprecedented bushfire season, Smoggys said they won't "wrap up" their business plan at the end of summer.
"By all counts and looking at the history of Australia, in terms of the summer bushfire season as well what the RFS themselves continue to say, this isn't something that will be cured at the end of this season," they said.
"It is something that we plan to continue to push throughout the next season to come and so on."
Since announcing their idea, Smoggys has received positive feedback and they are confident there is a demand for their unique face masks.
"Especially for our generation you kind want that trade back of doing something good for everyone around you but also having something to signify that."
You can donate to the Smoggys' GoFundMe page here.