Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Karen Walker's latest venture

Healthy Breath face mask, MEO with cover design by Karen Walker. Picture/supplied
Healthy Breath face mask, MEO with cover design by Karen Walker. Picture/supplied

Auckland-based company Healthy Breath has partnered with designer Karen Walker to export its latest antipollution face mask, MEO.

The reusable mask has been designed using a replaceable filter made from a New Zealand wool blend and with interchangeable cover designs created by Walker.

The company is looking to tap into international markets, with Asian consumers spending more than $2 billion on face masks every year, and double digit sales growth in the products annually.

Healthy Breath president Wei Gao said the product was designed to combat air pollution with the unique air filter the company's differentiating feature.

"The new wool blend is the result of many years of research and development and utilises the protective qualities of specifically selected and scientifically tested wool from sheep bred in the mountains of Wanaka," Gao said.

"The unique biological properties of the wool filter mean the MEO masks offer electrostatic filtration of the finest levels of atmospheric particulate matter, as well as protection from bacteria, while still being easy to breathe through."

Lanaco chief executive Nick Davenport earlier said the company was planning to invest significantly in research and development in the coming years which would benefit New Zealand sheep farmers and the economy.

"Through this deal New Zealand wool is going to improve the health of millions of people across the planet," Davenport said.

"In so doing, Lanaco and Healthy Breath want to recognise the commitment of New Zealand's sheep farmers by paying them a premium for what is, in all reality, an absolutely premium product - wool."

The MEO mask would be manufactured in South Auckland before being sent overseas. The collaboration was celebrated at a launch event in Auckland last night.

- NZ Herald

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