Cultures

Zika protection can now be found in your clothing

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By: Tom

The Zika virus has been taking our world by storm by threatening everyone, especially pregnant women. This virus which is transmitted by mosquitos has been linked to microcephaly, a neurological birth defect that causes shrunken heads among newborns. It’s really difficult for women who live in low resource settings, like many South American countries, to protect themselves from this virus. Here’s where Maternova comes in.

Maternova is an online resource specializing in products for pregnant women and infants, and they think they’ve found a solution. The two designers have come up with fashionable, low-cost clothing embedded with nanotechnology to protect against mosquitoes. This creates a stylish way to offer Zika protection to everyday women from the virus, just by getting dressed in the morning.

The items contain an insect repellant that is EPA certified to be safe—unlike permethrin, which is still considered a possible carcinogen. The founders of the line won’t reveal what repellant is found in the clothing, but they assure everyone that it has been used in Europe for at least thirty years now. Not only does the clothing protect from Zika, but also any mosquito or tick-borne illness, including dengue, chikungunya, Lyme, and malaria. They also claim that the items will hold their repellant abilities for up to fifty washes, which is pretty impressive considering there is not yet a product like this on the market.

Maternova prides itself in focusing on protecting and helping women in low-resource settings, so it’s only natural that they would create a practical means of protecting them against a devastating and potentially deadly disease. Women in these areas are around standing water where mosquitos lurk quite often, and according to Maternova’s website,

“Women cannot put their lives on hold and wait for Zika to end. This growing epidemic needs solutions now that fit into women’s lives. Protective apparel goes wherever women go, allowing women to carry on with their day-to-day lives, confident that they are safe from Zika.”

An initial shipment of t-shirts has been distributed, and other items are expected to be developed soon (think leggings, long shirts, or tunics). One main goal of this initiative is to make the clothing items fashionable, not appear as a protective measure. When someone sees a woman wearing any of the items, they will simply think they look normal. Blending everyday fashion with protection is the goal here. However, not only do they want their pieces to be fashionable, but culturally accepted. Each culture is different and sports different fashion trends and looks, so they aim to cater to each cultural norm. Maternova really is making waves in the world of fashion and Zika awareness.

Lauren is a part-time editorial and graphic contributor at 301 Digital Media who has a strange obsession with cats and a love for Drake that will never be reciprocated. Follow her on Instagram: @lpetermeyer

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