Models taking part in a fashion event held in the city of Nanjing in China's Jiangsu province were asked to wear medical masks while strutting up and down the catwalk.
Although this was not the first time when models have put on such peculiar accessories, it was the first time when the masks served a purpose other than shocking the audience. Thus, the masks were meant to keep the models safe from air pollutants.
What's more, some of the people who attended this fashion event as mere spectators also put on masks, and for the very same reason.
As reported on several occasions, China is now dealing with a major air pollution crisis. This so-called airpocalypse was brought about by the country's intense use of coal as an energy source, and by its rapid urbanization.
According to Daily Mail, the Chinese province of Jiangsu is presently pretty much drowning in smog. By the looks of it, local air quality is so poor that high officials have put the city on red alert.
“It stinks like smoke. The air really scratches in your throat,” a woman living in Jiangsu reportedly told Chinese news agency, Xinhua. “We've never experienced such terrible smog,” she went on to say.
Other provinces hit by an air pollution crisis are Zhejiang, Anhui and Henan, and the cities of Beijing and Shanghai are not doing all that great either.
In fact, it was only last week when air pollution levels in Shanghai upped to 24 times what the World Health Organization considered a safe limit.
Earlier this year, the Organization agreed to list air pollution as a cause of cancer.
“After thoroughly reviewing the latest available scientific literature, the world's leading experts convened by the IARC [International Agency for Research on Cancer] Monographs Programme concluded that there is sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer. They also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladder cancer,” it said at that time.
Furthermore, “Particulate matter, a major component of outdoor air pollution, was evaluated separately and was also classified as carcinogenic to humans.”
Hence, it makes sense that, as odd as pairing stunning dresses and jewelry with medical masks might sound, the fashion models all agreed to wear them.