In October 2013, while preparing for a marathon, Jai Dhar Gupta suddenly started wheezing — an alien ailment for this sports enthusiast. A precautionary four-day break from physical activity didn’t help either and his condition worsened. “I thought something was wrong with my body, without ever thinking that it might have something to do with the environment I live in. For 11 months, I tried all kinds of treatment and nothing helped,” says Gupta.
It was a chance encounter with an expat that made Gupta discover a pollution mask, called Vogmask. A quick Google search led him to testimonials of people from across the world, each recommending the face mask. He ordered eight for his family and says that, since that day, he hasn’t taken a single anti-allergy pill. A thank you email to the founders of Vogmask resulted in him bringing the product to India. A few weeks ago, Vogmask India opened its first store in Delhi at Select Citywalk Mall.
“People often use dupattas, handkerchiefs and surgical masks but they only filter coarse dust particles or Particulate Matter (PM) 10, which is anyway not harmful. It’s PM 2.5, which is harmful, that they cannot filer. You need n95 or n99 filters and Vogmasks uses n99,” says Gupta.
The masks seal the face; they come with an active carbon layer and a plastic valve, which is shut when you inhale and opens when you exhale. “We make masks in five sizes, for people weighing anything between 4 kg and 130 kg. We also have masks with two valves, which we recommend for athletes and golfers,” says Gupta.
The masks are priced at Rs 2,000 and can be used for nine months. They also come in a range of colours and designs. Fashion designer Manish Arora, too has collaborated with the company and will release five designs soon. Last month, Arora distributed these masks as giveaways to his guests at his show at the Paris Fashion Week.