A new kind of swimwear trend is sweeping the Chinese beaches in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. As the weather get hotter, both men and women are seen appearing on the beaches wearing full body suits that cover from head to toe. The upper part of the swimsuit has a ski-mask with holes cut out at appropriate places to leave the eyes, nose and mouth exposed, giving the wearer an odd Lucha libre look. The Netizens are calling the swimwear “face-kinis”
The mask are a way for Chinese bathers to protect their skin from the sunburn, but it turns out that they are equally handy at repelling insects and jellyfish.
Unlike in western culture, women in Asian countries don’t like to get a tan particularly in the face. Tan is often seen as a connection to outdoor work and peasantry who toil in the sun. Fair skin, on the other hand, is associated with aristocracy and seen as a sign of feminine beauty unscathed by the indignities of manual labor. Preserving one’s pale skin, which is an obsession across Asia, is encouraged in many Asian culture and cosmetic products that caters to this belief is a booming industry. Drugstore shelves across Asia bulge with rows of creams and cosmetic that promises natural-looking fair hue.
Facekinis started as a do-it-yourself garment that women made at home using scraps of fabric and a sewing machine, but now they can be found at swimwear shops for 15 to 25 yuan ($2.40 to $4.00) each.