China’s Popular Beach Trend: The Facekini

If you’re traveling to China this summer and want to fit in at the beach, you may be less than thrilled to learn the popular fashion trend will not allow you to get a tan. Dubbed the “facekini,” these masks cover the person’s entire face, head and neck, with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth.

In northeast China’s seaside town of Qingdao, women especially find these masks appealing for beachwear. Unlike most Westerners who enjoy getting bronze in the summer, Chinese women view white skin as a sign of beauty. In fact, the Chinese have an expression that roughly translates to “white skin covers up a hundred uglinesses.” Because of this, these women will do whatever it takes to stay fair.

“[I wear this because] I fear getting tanned,” said Wang Xiuzhi (王秀芝), a “facekini woman” on Qingdao’s No. 1 Bathing Beach, as reported by Xinhua. “I come here to swim often and [the mask] does work.”

According to CNNGo, the facekini has other benefits, like preventing jellyfish stings, repelling mosquitoes and warding off sharks.

While many people from outside China are just finding out about the facekini, the truth is it has been popular in Qingdao for the last five years.

Would you wear a facekini to the beach?

[Image via AFP / Getty Images]

Photo of the Day (06.05.2008)

I love a good night photo, and this one by Trent Strohm (aka Strudel Monkey) fits the bill. It’s colourful, it’s clear, it’s well-composed, and most importantly, it fills me with the insatiable urge to go to China right-freaking-now. Taken recently, the photo is of the Huilan Pavilion in Qingdao, China. It was built in 1891 and might look oddly familiar for a very good reason: It’s on the label of all Tsingtao beer bottles.

Have a photo to share? Submit it to our Gadling Flickr Pool.

Midwestern Bluegrass in China with Ironweed

My aunt, Jane Accurso, is in a traditional bluegrass band; she plays lead guitar and sings. They’re called Ironweed, and they’re one of Columbia, Missouri’s most well known groups in a burgeoning local music scene. Columbia has a sister city in China: Laoshan, which is roughly 30km east of Qingdao (Tsingtao). A few months back, the Columbia Friends of China — an organization dedicated to promoting sister-city relationships — accepted applications from local Columbia bands to be considered for an all-expenses-paid spot playing on stage at the Quingdao International Beer Festival. Ironweed won the spot.

Until yesterday afternoon, Jane had never left the United States. “We leave for the airport in just a couple of hours,” she wrote on the band’s blog. “I don’t even know how to use chopsticks!”

The band will be updating their blog from the road, sharing the experiences of being one of the few traditional bluegrass bands to play in China. They’ve also got a Flickr page for photos. I can’t wait to follow along.