Snü – the trendy, comfy air pollution snood

by Helle Abelvik in London, England, United Kingdom



raised in 84 days



Snü is a trendy, comfy cutting-edge air pollution-filtering tubescarf and facemask about to go into production. Let's make Snü come true!

by Helle Abelvik in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Any extra money raised will be used to source larger quantities of the core components at reduced cost, and to move more quickly to organic, recycled and recyclable trims and packaging.

Larger quantities will bring the production cost per-item down, enabling the buy-one-give-one model to be implemented more quickly.

What's a Snü?

A Snü is a fashionable tubular neckscarf that turns into an air pollution-filtering facemask when it’s pulled up around the face and secured with a hidden nose clip and elastic drawstring. 

Its integrated N99 filter fabric is the latest in anti-air pollution nanofiltering technology, and the outer scarf features seasonal fashion designs that will always be bang on trend. 

The Snü is luxuriously comfortable, durable and eco-friendly – made from sustainably-sourced fabric and trims. We're continually innovating in terms of the materials and packaging used.

The Snü can be worn anywhere to reduce exposure to air pollution (dust and heavy-metal particulate matter), woodsmoke, pollen, spores, and yes even viruses if strict hygienic practices are also observed.

Featuring stylish prints and patterns, including limited edition artworks for the launch collection (see below), the Snü is a must-have accessory for the 21st-century city dweller or worldwide traveller. 

Snü is currently gearing up to be sold on a buy-one-give-one basis for low-income people living in cities facing some of the worst air quality in the world. This is the core reason why Snü desperately needs your pledges!

Why do we need Snü?

Air pollution masks do of course exist, but the best ones are overwhelmingly designed for sportspeople like cyclists (with filters that need changing), or are ineffective, unattractive, cheap, disposable, unsustainable, and flimsy.

Most quality varieties on the market are designed to either hang from the ears or be strapped around the face until the cyclist or pedestrian reaches their destination. These two extremes can be ineffective or incredibly uncomfortable. While an air pollution mask is only as effective as its seal around the face, not all areas of the city are seriously polluted. A busy two-lane road at rush hour will be a good place to wear a mask; the park might be a good place to have a breather. Snü enables you to have both a scarf and mask in one.

Most importantly, Snü looks goooood. You'll actually *want* to wear your Snü, which may even match your outfit, everywhere. You'll look so good you'll happily wear it on the Tube – which is great because the air on the Tube is pretty disgusting.

Is air pollution really that bad, even in the UK?

The British Heart Foundation recently found that around 15 million people in the UK live in areas where average levels of PM2.5 – minuscule toxic particles that mainly come from vehicle emissions, wood burning and construction dust – exceeds guidelines set by the World Health Organisation. 

How did we get into this situation? Perhaps because air pollution is invisible. It’s a combination of gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and microscopic particulate matter (PM), like PM2.5. PM2.5 is small enough to enter our bloodstream when breathed in through the lungs, causing serious damage to health. 

Here are some stomach-churning facts about air pollution gathered from recent scientific studies:

  • around 36,000 people die early because of air pollution in the UK each year (the British Heart Foundation say this could rise to 160,000 over the next decade)
  • air pollution is thought to cause early ("silent") miscarriages, and heavy metal particulate matter is now being found in placentas
  • air pollution can reduces children’s lung sizes by up to 10% in the worst parts of London
  • air pollution causes and triggers asthma and severe attacks can kill
  • air pollution is now thought to harm every organ in our bodies
  • air pollution is thought to cause higher rates of depression and aggressive behaviour

Laws are being made to reduce air pollution – but these struggle to keep up with the science. For example, new diesel cars being sold in the UK today still emit huge amounts of the most dangerous ultrafine particles, which current EU laws don't consider.

Why should you back Snü?

As the above studies show, air pollution can have awful effects on health, particularly for women and children. Many people are not aware of any of this – Snü is a way to show them (stylishly!) that we need to clean up our air, *as well as* protect ourselves from the worst effects.

Unlike most air pollution masks, the Snü has been designed for fashion-conscious urbanites in London (and Delhi, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai), by fashion-conscious women in London.

The nanofibre filter material is the best on the market, tested to extremely high standards (and can even filter out those nano-sized ultrafine particles). The strap, nose wire and tubescarf design means that air pollution won't seep in around the edges or under the chin.

With concerns around urban hygiene reaching fever pitch around the world due to the coronavirus outbreak, Snü is innovating in a crucial future market which will see fashion and dangerous airborne particle protection merge. 

Back Snü now and you'll instantly become an early adopter and valued supporter of the latest must-have in "apocaloptimistic" urban fashion.

What point is Snü at in its development right now?

Following extensive research and development, spanning well over a year, Snü has been prototyped across three design iterations, and samples of the final chosen design are currently being prepared. 

The first six prints have been created and are being test-printed on organic cotton fabric. A solid relationship has been built with the European nanofibre filter material manufacturer. They are waiting for Snü's first full order of the minimum quantity-sized roll.

How will the funds raised be spent?

Funds raised will be used to produce the first-ever run of at least 300 Snüs for the hotly anticipated Spring/Summer 2020 launch. 

Funds will purchase the minimum order quantity of a roll of the cutting-edge filter material, digital printing of artwork on soft organic cotton fabric, environmentally sustainable fabric/trims, first-run manufacturing in London and biodegradable packaging. 

Depending on amounts raised, another collection for Autumn/Winter or a much larger print run of the SS20 collection could be right around the corner. The buy-one-give-one plan (made famous by Toms shoes) will also be budgeted in to these runs.

Without funding, Snü might not be able to purchase the minimum quantities of materials required for a cost-effective first run. The buy-one-give-one plan will certainly be jeopardised if funds cannot be raised to meet these minimums.

There are six limited edition nature photography art-print designs modified from original artworks by Fraser Lawson (IG: @frasethatsways) to choose from (clockwise from top left: Grey Palms, Monochrome Stallions, Purple Piolant, Kawaii Lily, Fuscia Moustache, Midnight Leaf Lake):

Snü FAQs

Why are you the best person to bring Snü to life?

I’m an environmental researcher, campaigner and writer specialising in environmental human rights. I know a LOT about air pollution! I'm also very style conscious, and cycle and commute every day in London.

I’m British, Norwegian and Australian and I grew up in Hong Kong. London has breached annual air pollution limits just days into January for many years until recently; Australia has been on fire for months with awful impacts on air quality. Hong Kong is now so polluted it often has to erect billboards of the city skyline on a clear day for tourists to get their holiday snaps in front of! Essentially, everywhere I turn, there’s an air pollution problem, and most places are still waiting for an effective interim solution that people actually want to wear. I created Snü so I don’t have to wait anymore. I look forward to wearing one every day I have to travel through my home city – until I can be sure the air is clear and safe to breathe.

Who's in the team?

Sustainable fashion consultant Vivienne Austin is now a core member of the Snü team.

Innovative nature photographer Fraser Lawson (@frasethatsways) has provided the first limited-edition artistic prints shown above.

Hannah Kate Bellamy helped create the first prototypes.

And the wonderful team at the Allia East London Grow Your Business Accelerator have helped so much in getting the Snü on the road!

What’s the future of Snü?

Until the London Underground and other cities’ subway tunnels are cleaned, and fossil-fuelled cars (and even electric cars which also create and kick up dust) are banned from city centres, wearing a Snü will be a smart idea anywhere. 

Snü is continually collaborating with up-and-coming artists and print and fashion designers to create unique looks that are as expressive as they are protective. 

Collaborations with iconic fashion brands, sustainable fashion and wellbeing partners – for example and to create natural aromatherapy sprays and hardy packaging for storing your Snü when not in use – are all in the pipeline.

As an ethical brand, a huge amount of thought goes in to each decision made, particularly to ensure positive social and environmental impacts. This is why we're working hard to see whether Snü can be sold through the buy-one-give-one model.

Will you do a Snü for children?

The company has been examining options for children’s Snüs since its inception – and is pursuing research and development funding for creating a modified version specifically designed for little people. The logic of this is clear – children’s faces are always closer to car exhausts and their growing lungs and bodies need special protection. 

In the spirit of Snü’s core values, a significant portion of profit from children’s Snüs will be donated to air pollution campaigns that push politicians to legislate properly against air pollution. Wearing a Snü is not the solution to the problem – reducing air pollution is!

Isn't this just sticking a plaster on the problem?

Many environmentalists don't think air pollution masks are a great idea for this reason, and Snü understands that. But unless strong laws are created and is enforced, people and companies aren't just going to give up their cars, or lorries and vans (especially if they use them to work).

The core aim of Snü is to make the invisible visible. The company works in close alignment with the goals of environmental scientists and campaigners, while providing an effective interim solution to the problem of air pollution.

By wearing a Snü, you'll be taking a small step to try to mitigate the damage to your health, while showing, through fashion – a unique expression of contemporary culture – that we urgently need to change. 

"Snu" means “turn” in Norwegian – and I hope Snü a positive first step in turning us on to the dangers of air pollution, so we can really start to turn this ship around.

Let's make 'Snü – the trendy, comfy air pollution snood' happen

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