(image via: Takvim)
Face-Kinis and their associated bodysuits are a glorious hodgepodge of color, patterns and materials resulting from their humble origins. Cotton, acrylic, even neoprene salvaged from disused wetsuits rub shoulder-to-shoulder over actual shoulders.
They’re cheap and ill-fitting to be sure, but mostly cheap. On the bright side, fashionable swimmers opting for a Face-Kini could be confident they wouldn’t run into anyone wearing the same style outfit. Peace out, homies!
That’s beginning to change, however. Local entrepreneurs conditioned to act on an opportunity when they see it have pounced on the popularity of the Face-Kini and who can blame them? China’s population isn’t getting any smaller and despite the occasional governmental pronouncement the pollution situation along the coast isn’t getting any better either.
Might as well go with the flow, so to speak, and give the public what they want… well, not exactly “give”, these are business-people after all. Supplying low-cost, factory-made Face-Kini masks and suits to beach-goers who lack the time and skill to sew one themselves is a no-brainer. Selling them direct to the public from sea-side kiosks is pure genius.
Ugly Is Only Skin Deep
There’s another contributing factor to the explosion of Face-Kini users we haven’t mentioned, and that’s the societal preference for fair skin among China’s middle and upper classes. While tanning is considered to be one sign of a luxurious lifestyle in North America and Europe, in China sporting a tan leads onlookers to assume one has a low-paying menial job requiring much outdoor work, such as in construction or farming. While the use of sunscreen is far from unusual in China, even the highest SPF rating pales in comparison to that offered by a full-body Face-Kini.
So which came first, the desire for increased sun-protection or the need to avoid contact with undesirable animal and botanical pests? Could be it’s a “chicken or the egg” proposition but one thing’s for certain: the Face-Kini is an ideal way to kill two birds with one stone… though it hardly qualifies as beautiful plumage.
Last but not least, will the Face-Kini make the leap from the quilt-like coverings of Qingdao to designer full-body “unikini” suits in fashion hotspots like the splendid sands of Cancun or the golden coasts of Cannes and the French Riviera?
(image via: Viralbits)
It could happen – pollution is a growing global concern, skin cancer rates from UV ray exposure are rising and rumors of radioactivity in ocean waters just compounds the problem in those prone to anxiety. As always, “life finds a way” and sun & surf worshippers will adapt to the situation. Let’s not forget, there was a time when bikini bathing suits were considered shocking and few women would consider wearing them.
All it would take is for a couple of celebrity sunbathers to show up sporting well-made, form-fitting Face-Kinis to spark a boom that would set swimwear design back half a century. The good news is, it would also be the death knell for the Mankini.