New Collection of Facekini Debuts in China

kim kardashian

Facekini, China’s skin-tight stretchy mask designed to protect beachgoers’ face and neck from the sun, just debuted its sixth collection.

60-year-old Zhang Shifan is back with a new design for her facekinis. While the first generation of the apparel was strictly for covering the swimmers’ heads, the suits now cover the full body.

In addition, it features the world’s most endangered animals, such as giant pandas, alligators and Siberian tigers. Others involve a Peking Opera theme showcasing its traditional Chinese costumes, peacock, dragon, and phoenix.

There are also holes for one’s eyes, nostrils, mouth, and even ponytails for some.

Moreover, the beachwear caters to both men and women.

Zhang created the fabric mask to help swimmers ward off ultraviolet rays and dangerous jellyfish in 2004. But buyers wear it for another purpose: to avoid getting tanned since fair skin is prized in China.

“Suntan protection was a secondary feature but now it’s the major appeal to my customers,” she said to CNN.

The facekini is popular in Zhang’s hometown of Qingdao, with a population of 9 million.

She has been selling the products on Taobao, China’s equivalent of Amazon, since 2007. However, they have not garnered much interest from people outside of china.

“We’ve tried promoting our products overseas after the pictures of our products went viral, but it didn’t turn out well,” Zhang said, according to CNN. “We’ve only had small orders from Australia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in the past few years.”

Even so, it reported over 20,000 facekinis were sold this summer. She also sells them at her brick-and-mortar store.

“I’ve been using a facekini for nearly ten years,” Qingdao local, Wang Huimei, 58, told CNN.

“It’s way better than sunscreen lotion that wears off whenever I get inside the water. Plus, the water in this area tends to be cold, it’s comfortable to wear and it keeps me warm,” she added.

Although middle-aged women wore them initially, younger men and women now wear them too.

“I will keep designing and try to make it a fashion statement both at home and abroad,” Zhang said, according to the Shanghai Daily.

About Melody Chan

Melody is an avid fan of traveling. Although she thinks the packing and unpacking process is tedious, she believes the ability to enlighten herself while visiting new places is all worth it. She has already fallen in love with the idea of one day seeing the whole world. She knows that the world's beauty extends further than what a lens can show and is so much more than just words painted on a page. But when she's not traveling, she'll have to settle for her favorite pastime, writing. She is an aspiring screenwriter and journalist.

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