It’s summer in China, which means thousands upon thousands of people are descending on the beaches in Qingdao (and other places). But here’s the thing — being on the beach means being out in the sun which means the potential for darkening skin which is considered a bad thing by Chinese women.
Have no fear, the “face-kini” is here!
This year, though, it seems like the fashion trend is jumping the Great Wall and heading out into the world. Here’s what The Telegraph has to say about it:
The facekini looks more like a balaclava than essential beachwear. But in China, that’s exactly what it has become.
Beachgoers in the eastern city of Qingdao have been sporting facekinis to protect their faces from the sun, and even jellyfish. The swimming gear is made of stretchy, swimsuit like material and covers the entire head. Holes are cut for the eyes, nose and mouth (well, you’ve got to be able to eat that sandy sandwich somehow).
But now it looks like the facekini – which also looks a bit like a Mexican wrestling mask – could become a global fashion item, with one New York-based fashion magazine, CR Fashion Book, featuring it in a photo shoot.
The images show models wearing patterned facekinis, accessorised with swimsuits, jewellery and heels, in a feature called “Masking in the sun: A hidden retreat in this season’s swimwear.”
Now here’s something really scary — they are now being sold on Amazon!
I can hear the editors in newsrooms all over the world this summer barking orders to their China-based correspondents: “GRAB YOUR CAMERA AND GET TO THE BEACHES IN QINGDAO. WE NEED A STORY ON THE SWIMMERS WEARING NYLON FACE MASKS. NOW!”
There may indeed be other news-worthy events in China this summer — a certain trial of the wife of a certain former official; a certain meeting of officials at another beach (I wonder if they are wearing these as well — but these masked figures on the beaches of Qingdao seem to have become the story of the summer for much of the western press here.
One way to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun is to stay indoors, another is to apply a healthy layer of sun cream and slap on a wide-brimmed hat.
If you’re in China, however, there is a third option – a ‘Face-Kini’ complete with a body suit.
The name describes a protective head mask that is being used in Shandong province’s East China Sea coast by beach-goers who want to protect their skin from the sun.
It’s probably best not to view these just before going to bed.
I joined the fray and wrote about them in July in a post titled Swimming Masks.
One commenter wrote asking where they could be purchased. This Daily Mail article notes a price for the masks, so I’m guessing that they are being sold in the shops and stalls that line the beaches in Qingdao.