Japanese businessmen have enough trouble getting to work, what with crowded subways and traffic-jammed highways. Being exposed to the H1N1 Swine Flu virus is an extra hazard the nation's frazzled "salarymen" simply do not need. Fear not, honorable office warriors, Haruyama Trading Co. is riding to the rescue with a new line of snazzy looking, flu-fighting business suits!
The $585 suits that went on sale today (October 8, 2009) are treated with Titanium Dioxide, a chemical compound commonly used in cosmetics and toothpaste. According to company spokes-person Junko Hirohata, TiO2 has photocatalytic properties, meaning that it when exposed to light it breaks down organic materials. In the case of Haruyama's antiviral suits, the organic material that gets broken down are any viruses or bacteria that contact it - not the salaryman who's wearing it. One would hope, at least. That's Ryoji Tanaka of Haruyama Trading Co. (above), wearing one of the company's virus-killing suits and looking rather lively.
The company has taken the plunge into swine flu fashion by producing 50,000 of the stylish, treated suits which come in 4 colors & styles (medium gray, gray pinstripe, charcoal and navy) and look just like any other business suits. Haruyama has come out with specialized business suits before; witness the ad (below) for their water-repellent suit. If they've got the technology to repel buckets of water, then warding off the occasional sneeze on the subway is a piece of cake!
The antiviral business suit may sound weird but it's no novelty - nearly 20 people have died from H1N1 swine flu in Japan as of September 22 and most new cases of the disease are cropping up in crowded urban areas, the stomping grounds of Japanese salarymen.
Even so (and unlike the pricey suits), the concept has more than a few holes in it. For one, influenza is mainly contracted through the ingestion or inhalation of flu viruses. Businessmen aren't in the habit of licking their clothing, unless there's a new wacky trend I'm unaware of. Face masks treated with TiO2 might be more effective; or chemically treated burkas. Speaking of which, why hasn't Haruyama Trading Co. considered the plight of Japanese female workers, the so-called OLs (office ladies)? The gals are just as vulnerable as the guys - and they're cuter, too. (via Telegraph UK, Daily Mail and Dangerous Minds)