Spain is reporting what is likely the first birth in Europe of a baby with Zika virus-related brain damage. The news comes as some have raised concerns about Zika spreading at the Rio Olympics (though others have dispelled those fears).
With the specter of Zika looming, though, brands are hoping to capitalize. Fashion retailers in particular are pushing Zika chic: Shoppers, they hope, will want to look good and smell fresh all while fending off disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Both fragrance and apparel companies, some founded with the sole purpose of fighting mosquitoes, have identified innovative ways to make mosquito repellants fashionable — and more glamorous than Off!
Among them is Coqui Coqui Mosquito Repellant, a fragrance made by the Coqui Coqui hotel chain in Mexico. Coqui Coqui Perfumeria produces a variety of high-end perfumes which retail for upwards of $90, and is now luring consumers with its mosquito repellent packaged in the same intricate glass bottles. It retails for $12 for two ounces, and in addition to the site, shoppers can find it on Net-A-Porter and The Line, where it has routinely sold out since the beginning of the Zika scare.
Off on vacation? Try Coqui Coqui’s handbag sized Mosquito Repellent and fragrance with its natural mix of exotic plants. #ExpertBeautyTip
— NET-A-PORTER (@NETAPORTER) April 22, 2015
While Coqui Coqui has been available since 2003, other fragrance brands have cropped up in recent years with the sole purpose of fighting mosquitoes. One such company is Aromaflage, founded by the entrepreneurial couple Michael and Melissa Fensterstock in 2013. Like Coqui Coqui, the concoction is meant to be act as both a repellant and perfume, and consumers can choose from a range of options, including an 8 milliliter roll-on offering that retails for $30 and 50 milliliter that goes for $65.
Michael Fetherstock told The New York Times earlier this month that sales have doubled since last summer as the threat of Zika mounts, and the perfume is now being marketed through high-end hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons.
On the apparel side, the recently launched Nobitech offers active wear designed to repel mosquitoes using a proprietary “Skintex” technology. According to the website, Nobitech is the only apparel company approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to deter mosquitos using the synthetic insecticide. It is reportedly also being used by select athletes for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro, in response to reports of high numbers of Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has placed a travel warning on the surrounding area leading into the global event. To date, there has been one confirmed U.S. death tied to the virus in Puerto Rico, and earlier this month a Utah resident is believed to have died in part due to Zika-related complications.
The apparel’s ability to fight off mosquitoes is somewhat temporary, as the chemicals only remain active for around 25 washings. Products include leggings, jackets and t-shirts, among others, for both men and women. It also offers a custom line, so that athletic teams or clients can personalize a set of items for sporting events.