It takes Huyen Trang much longer to prepare before going out these days, amid what is considered the hottest summer Ho Chi Minh City has ever suffered, because of the large amount of protective clothing and accessories she has to wear.
“They are well made with cool materials, and thus cost me as much as VND6 million (roughly US$300),” she revealed.
To many local female residents, who are also suffering from the ongoing humid weather, sun clothing no longer means only masks and gloves.
A number of fashionable sun jackets have emerged, boasting “anti-UV” capability, and somehow manage to enjoy good sales despite their six-figure prices.
As recommended by Trang, Tuoi Tre visited a shop on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, where sun clothing “is sold for the first-ever time in Vietnam,” said the shop attendants.
The facility is packed with clothing ranging from mask and glasses to jackets and trousers, available for both adults and children.
One item fetches between VND900,000 and VND2 million, prices that are even higher than some other branded clothes.
While normal masks cost only VND5,000 – VND8,000 each, those available at the shop are sold for as much as VND163,000, and the ‘anti-UV’ ones bear exorbitant prices of up to VND326,000 each.
Other anti-UV products, including caps, glasses, and trousers, fetch VND500,000 to VND1 million an item.
An attendant said the products are all imported from Taiwan.
“They are made from fabrics mixed with polyamide, polyester, or ceramic fiber, and are able to keep wearers’ skins from being burned,” she asserted.
Effectiveness in question
The shop attendants added that the products all passed quality tests by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
Each product bears a certificate stamp displaying a UPF rating of 50.
A UPF (ultra violet protective factor) of 15 – 24 indicates that the product is good at protecting people from the UV light affect, while a rating of 40 – 50+ is classified as ‘excellent’, according to the ASTM Standard for Sun Protective Clothing and Swimwear.
When asked if the clothing have passed any tests in Vietnam, the attendants said no local agencies are in charge of testing these new products.
Interestingly enough, the attendant asserted that the products are completely capable of protecting wearers against UV light, but “is not sure if they can fight against the heat.”
A director of a fashion brand said the protective clothing is quite common in other countries, with the fashionable clothes made from fabrics capable of limiting exposure to UV light.
“The products are for use in swimming, sports, picnics, or gardening,” he said.
However, the products are advertised in Vietnam as provided ‘magical’ protection for people who wear them in order to fetch exorbitant prices, he said.
“There are hardly any products that are completely UV protective, so consumers should be careful to consider if it’s really worth it,” he advised.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nguyen Tuyet Phuoc, from the chemistry department of the HCMC University of Science, said even normal fabrics contain polyester and are thus able to fight against UV light.
“The producers claim that their products can block 90 percent of UV light, but this can only be proved via tests,” she said.
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