Facekinis are becoming a huge trend in China, especially in the summer months. Apart from wearing bikinis for swimming, a lot of Chinese women wear a face mask called a “facekini,” which is mainly worn in order to protect the face from becoming tanned. In a country where a pale-coloured face is directly associated with beauty and social status, a facekini has become a necessary piece of clothing for the Chinese to guard against the sun’s rays.
(image credit: Twitter – @SodaJones)
It’s not quite clear as to how long this fashionable item has been around. According to The Guardian, facekinis were first spotted about 5 years ago on the beaches of China. The standard mask costs around $3, while the more elegant ones can cost up to $25.
Apart from facekinis’ ability to block the sun’s harmful rays, they also guard against jellyfish and other sea urchins. Some facekinis are bright orange in colour, and they have been reported to help drive away sharks because, according to vendors selling the masks, they told CNN, the sea predators allegedly fear this colour the most.
But while the face mask has a lot of neat uses, the main problem of this item is that it’s is hard to take seriously. Anyone wearing it risks looking like a wrestler, a bank robber or even some one dressed in a fancy dress costume. Lets face it, they look ridiculous.
The influence of the Chinese culture goes far and wide. The Independent wrote an extensive article about how it has been integrated both creatively and commercially into Western fashion.
On TV, there are many shows that exhibit Chinese culture as a core theme. The popular Sherlock BBC had a rather notable episode dedicated entirely to Chinese culture. In terms of online games, Chinese styles and icons are visibly present, especially in pay-to-play games that include gold taels and red symbols. Additionally, many video games have martial arts themes that hail from different parts of China.
However, despite the Chinese impact on Western culture, it’s unlikely that the facekini will have the same impact. Even though the clothing hasn’t garnered much attention in the Western world, it’s highly unlikely it will be taken seriously. Also, the need to stop the sun rays isn’t something that holds the same bearing in the West. Most people are quite welcoming of a tan, albeit in a safe way so that not to damage the skin.