No, you are not being held up.
Singers are particularly conscious of the risks that come with travel, even if that’s just traveling around town. Although we’re not aware of a vocalist-specific study, it’s easy to believe that our community contains a higher incidence of germophobia and hypochondria than the rest of the population, but for good reason: our throats and our health are intrinsically linked to our livelihoods. We’re cautious out of necessity, always looking for new (and sometimes weird) remedies and preventative tips and tricks, and do much to keep ourselves as healthy as possible, so we can keep working and moving forward.
A relatively new product may either bring a solution or fuel the fire, shrouded (pun intended) in the innocuous form of an object we already love and wear: the scarf. But now it’s the Scough, conceived and made in Brooklyn, named after the very thing it helps you avoid, and first made available in 2014.
It’s actually a simple concept, combining high-level filtration with a garment that goes with everything. Invented by New Yorkers, where subway cold-sharing and pollution are top-of-mind, this clever costume hack could help protect you not only from viruses and germs, but pollution as well, for double duty and a little peace of mind (depending on your own personal level of microbe avoidance).
The marketing is a little hipster-y, a little smug, and gets no small amount of help from scare tactics, via hefty use of phrases like “public health crisis” and this choice marketing concoction:
Scough is made from the same materials the Ministry of Defense uses for chemical warfare. It’s for people who are serious about protecting themselves and others. AND want to look great.
“It’s a Brita for your face“!
In truth, some of the claims sound a little over the top, e.g. the idea that the accessory “creates a microclimate of freshened air”. The website claims that the Scough is lab-tested, which could mean any number of things, and doctor testimonials are peppered with the usual “mays” and “coulds” that indicates that the healthcare community may be waiting for the other shoe to drop. But maniacal skepticism aside, the invention makes logical sense, and it’s clear that the manufacturers’ efforts are a sincere and detailed attempt to create a real solution to a universal problem. The scarf’s innards include charcoal (for filtering properties) and a high-tech silver infusion (to kill germs), which may account for the cost: scarves run $29 to $99, with many priced at about fifty bucks.
The Scough is washable, and the filters are both washable (per instructions) and replaceable (at $20 each, with subscription options). They’re available in a variety of fabrics and patterns, and are designed for easy wear: you just slip two little earloops over your spectacle props, wrap the scarf around your neck, and then pull the filter up over your face. Voilà! It looks like a regular scarf, and it’s certainly a better fashion statement than those surgery-ready paper masks, or the truly frightening pollution masks which were clearly designed by Hannibal Lecter’s stylist…
Local news report — News 12 Brooklyn, 3/4/2014
Scough profile — Maker’s Row Academy: