Related News

Home » Nation

'Face-kini' gets a facelift

Program Code: 0909346150705005 | Source: CNTV

THE popular facial mask—which is used by middle-aged Chinese women as a shield from the sun—has been due an upgrade for some time. For one, the 'Face-kini' was never the most alluring of beach-wear items, but the inventor has gone some way to remedy that.

A brand new version of the face-kini made its debut on the beaches of Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China's Shangdong province, Monday.

A former accountant, and now the owner of a local swimwear business, 59-year-old Zhang Shifan is the inventor and designer of the product.

Zhang said she designed the original in 2004, but while it slowly became popular as an effective sun-block, it also gained in notoriety as an item that scared away small children. So, in an effort to placate the children, she decided to decorate it with elements from Beijing opera.

"In the past I really wanted to do everything I could to avoid scaring people. If I were to make a face-kini, I wouldn't make a black one, a white one, not dark colors. But scaring people still couldn't be avoided. So I thought ‘Why don't I draw some Peking opera designs that Chinese people like instead?’ So little children might not be so scared when they see these designs," Zhang said

It usually takes about 20 minutes for Zhang to draw, cut, and sew three pieces of material together. Pale skin is highly-prized in China, seen as delicate and feminine. Darker skin, on the other hand, is often associated with the undesirable tanning, and is often not preferred. Zhang says the original idea came from swimmers' demands for protection from harmful sun-rays and jellyfish stings, but she never imagined it would become as popular as it is today.

A few middle-aged beach-goers, already wearing the old face-kinis, tried on the new design. And many felt they were a big improvement on the original.

"When I saw it, I thought the inventor really is someone who is full of ideas. She is able to make something that can protect people's skin and also blend it with traditional Chinese culture. These ideas are really good," beach-goer Zhang Xing said.

With July through to September being peak season at Qingdao beach, Zhang says she plans to start selling the new Peking opera-themed masks in early August.

Around 30,000 face-kinis have already been sold in the past year—testament to how a simple idea can become a real money-spinner.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend