Some want trendy, pricier masks

Good quality masks are now marketed as a fashion accessory, and one piece can cost as much as $65.

Yet, Singaporeans are unfazed by the costs and trendy masks from brands like Vogmask, Totobobo and Respro have been snapped up because they are reusable and aesthetically-pleasing.

Mr James Lim, 38, director of Hodaka Motoworld, said that demand for the Respro masks which his company distributes, has doubled.

Ms Pamela Koh, 37, director of Vogmask Southeast Asia, said that the demand for the masks during the haze season is eight times more than usual.

"There are a handful of people who would rather not wear a mask if it's unfashionable, but most would want to wear a mask - any mask," she said.

Ms Lin Yijun, 26, a civil servant who initially bought a $39 Vogmask to protect herself against second-hand smoke, said that the design of the mask is secondary to her, but admits that it looks better than the N95 mask.

Ms Elaine Lai, 34, a freelance accountant who bought nine sets of Totobobo masks, each costing $45, for herself and her friends, said that although they are pricier, the masks are reusable and work better than N95 masks.

"I'm not concerned with its design," she said.

- Melanie Heng

This article was first published on September 26, 2015.
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