Nick Graham has a new gig for this new world we’re living in.
The designer has partnered with Global Brands Group Holding Limited on a joint venture to manufacture, distribute and market Airband, a new collection of health and wellness products designed by Graham.
“Between the effects of climate change and population growth, global respiratory issues are rising and Airband is committed to exploring technologies and solutions to mitigate the health effects of a changing planet,” Graham said.
The initial product offerings include face coverings and gaiters in a variety of designs that include slogans such as “Science Rules” along with baseball and football stitching, tie-dyes, geometrics and celestial scenes.
The face coverings come with built-in filters made with Airband RX99, a membrane that offers 99.9 percent particulate filtration down to .01 micron in a laboratory testing. It is hand-washable up to 50 times with no degradation of filtration and can be worn for 600 hours. The shell membrane is made of recyclable 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex with an antimicrobial finish.
Going forward, the brand will be expanded into other categories where effective filtration is needed including apparel, according to Graham, who said he sees the opportunity to expand beyond personal protective gear into more traditional clothing.
Graham said he’d actually begun working on the product, whose patent is pending, before the pandemic, but the health crisis served to accelerate the process. The brand already has an e-commerce site and he said sales have been robust, especially a collection with scientist Bill Nye, who has been working with Graham on his Nick Graham men’s apparel line for the past several years. Nye is donating the profit on sales of his masks to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
“While the mask and air-filtration consumer product space has become very crowded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to take the time to create higher-quality products that will continue to provide benefits over the longer term, given ongoing environmental issues,” said Rick Darling, chief executive officer of Global Brands Group. “We’re proud to partner with Nick Graham, an innovator who’s well known for founding iconic brands such as Joe Boxer and for designing products that combine quality, utility, style and comfort. By leveraging our distribution and marketing infrastructure, we’ll be able to ensure these items are accessible across a variety of retail channels to consumers who need them.”
Airband is also supplying masks to Community Organized Relief Effort, a nonprofit cofounded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, which is providing free COVID-19 testing for vulnerable and high-risk communities. CORE-branded masks are also being sold on AirbandMask.com, with 100 percent of the net profits going to the organization.
Retail prices for face coverings will range from $13 to $15 and they will be available at major retailers in the United States and at AirbandMask.com. The company is also expanding internationally into key markets in Asia and Europe in the early spring.