Retailers and designers are responding to fears of an international swine flu pandemic with some fashionable flu masks.
Flufashion.net is selling bandanna-style flu masks to help people ward off the deadly bug in style.
If you don't want it, flaunt it.
As swine flu approaches the pandemic stage, a new fad is going viral: the swine flu fashion mask.
Graphic designers and online retailers are offering swinophobes everywhere the chance to make a fashion statement — even as they ward off the deadly bug.
It's been barely a week since the H1N1 virus seized hold of America's attention and immune systems, and the sartorial scrubs are already flying off the shelves.
Nuvo Accessories, an online retailer that is making animal-print and bandanna-style flu masks, said it's preparing to ship about 2,500 units it's sold in the past five days.
Orders started "coming from all over the place once we put up the Web site" at flufashion.net, said Jay Ginsberg, sales manager for Nuvo. "It's all over the world."
Ginsberg said his clients see the danger of the virus and are ordering his masks out of a necessity. "They don't think it's a joke," he said.
But it has been good business for Nuvo, which has been bombarded with inquiries since it launched the site yesterday. Although the company offered the decorated masks years ago as a way for doctors and nurses to keep a light tone with child patients, the swine flu has brought a surge in sales for the Manhattan-based company.
On the West Coast, other designers see their work as a way to lend a hand where the virus is hurting people the worst.
"I see this as an opportunity to use design skills for good, and I'm planning to donate the proceeds to Children International to help Mexico to fight the swine flu epidemic," said graphic designer Irina Blok, who is making about 1,000 masks in 9 styles to sell online.
Blok's $10 masks aren't going to be sterile, she told FOXNews.com, and she's mostly generating interest from people who are excited about the fashion and fun of wearing her designs.
"I think the whole notion of this mask is very humorous," she said. Blok is offering masks with pig prints and mustachioed maws on her San Francisco based Web site, irinablok.com.
Even unadorned masks are selling. On Amazon.com, swine flu masks are currently the No. 4 seller in women's apparel, beating out another strapped accessory: the bra.
For now they're only the No. 10 seller in men's apparel, proving that men are either brave or bold — or just plain stupid.