words: about 270; time: 4.5 minutes
as the weather warms up and people get ready to hit the beach, it appears a new age of australian swimwear may be coming. the face-kini is shaping up to be this year’s biggest summer hit, offering people a special way to help prevent skin cancer.
first appearing in china and made from swimsuit material, it covers the user’s entire head, leaving small openings for just the eyes, nose and mouth. the fashion item was invented in qingdao in 2004, to help chinese women protect their skin from the sun’s rays. in addition the full-face covering also helps to protect the face from jellyfish and algae, which has led to its huge popularity in its home country.
developed by zhang shifan, the face-kini has proven so popular that more than 30,000 pieces can be sold every year. and the fashion piece has even begun moving outside china, with the item appearing in photos alongside swimsuits from gucci and armani.
the designer has continued to make new collections, with her 2016 set to raise awareness (意识) of endangered animals, including giant pandas, alligators (鳄鱼) and siberian tigers. previous (以前的) designs included those from the peking opera, a form of entertainment (娱乐) known for its colorful face-painting.
the covering comes in many colors and styles, from single colors to those painted like real faces.
while the first generation (代) of face-kinis was strictly head-wear, new products even offer full-body suits.
speaking about the swimwear’s success, the face-kini’s designer said she isn’t looking to slow down.
“i will keep designing and try to make it fashionable both at home and abroad,” ms zhang said.