The Evolution of Face-mask Fashion


There is always a fashion opportunity just around the corner. For Beijing, that corner just happens to contain a lot of smog. Smog has become the norm in wintertime in the Chinese capital, and for many, a face mask is now a staple item in their winter wardrobe. However, the fashionable residents of Beijing aren’t too happy with the plain white, industrial face masks and are opting to take advantage of the dire situation, and make a fashion statement. Masks with different patterns, logos and messages can now be found on the faces of many of the Beijing residents. They have also inspired Chinese fashion designer Chi Zhang, who has said that the air pollution in the capital is one of his prime inspirations. His phrase “Fxxk Air Pollution” are trademarks in his creations. He is not the only one making a fashion and political statement when it comes to air pollution. Artist Kong Ning designed a wedding dress decorated with 999 face masks for her performance art work Marry The Blue Sky, and the 10m long dress signified her frustration with air pollution. During China Fashion Week last year, Yin Peng’s Spring/Summer 2015 sportswear collection saw models parading down the catwalk wearing face masks, with some ranging from full-covered headgear to more lightweight designs. Even cosmetics company Max Factor sponsored a selfie photo contest for those purchasing Sina Weibo make up to show off their eye make-up whilst wearing a smog mask. Needless to say it was very popular, with over 33,000 users of the make-up tweeting the campaign within the first week. Whilst it appears that the smog is providing inspiration for fashionistas in the capital, the actual health concerns surrounding the smog cannot be ignored. Smog can last several days and the levels of contamination are currently a dozen times worse than the World Health Organization safe level. Let us hope that in the future, there won’t be any face-mask fashion because there will be no need for face-masks.

the 10m wedding dress, with 999 face masks attached image credit to Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
fxxk air pollution facemask. image credit to Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters


a facemask featuring on the catwalk at China Fashion Week

Holly Martin




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