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Would YOU wear a balaclava this winter?


While it is most often seen on ski slopes, the balaclava is fast becoming the unlikely fashion trend of the season – with prices ranging up to a hefty £840. 

Secondhand clothing site Depop has reported a 145% increase in searches for balaclavas in the last month alone, while global fashion platform Lyst has seen page views for the knitted headgear rise 18% each month, The Guardian reports. 

According to Lyst, Kim Kardashian’s headline-grabbing unconventional anti-fashion statement at Met Gala – a bizarre Balenciaga couture catsuit and head covering, saw searches for the garment increase by 62% within 48 hours.  

‘As a result, the “wider ‘fetish facewear” trend has been gaining traction on our platform over the past few weeks,’ Lyst’s content lead, Morgane Le Caer told the publication. 

Not happy: Kim Kardashian was the first to admit she can’t catch a break on Thursday after being ridiculed for her unusual Met Gala outfit – despite making no attempt to be overtly sexual

Cecilie Bahnsen's Gigi wool knit balaclava, which retails at £305 (pictured)

Cecilie Bahnsen’s Gigi wool knit balaclava, which retails at £305 (pictured) 

Urban Outfitters' £20 stripe balaclava

The high-street brand's green balaclava

Urban Outfitters’ stripe balaclava (left) and (right) green balaclava – both £20

Loro Piana's Achillea Balaclava, which is made from cashmere and comes with a hefty £840 price tag

Loro Piana’s Achillea Balaclava, which is made from cashmere and comes with a hefty £840 price tag

However, Depop credits TikTok and generation Z for helping to ‘reclaim the trend’ by featuring the ‘retro accessories’ in fashion tutorial videos.

Justin Bieber also opted to wear the unlikely fashion accessory when he performed during the The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13 in New York. 

Balaclavas have also played a starring role in new collections from the likes of Stella McCartney and Stone Island, with prices starting from £150.  

What is a balaclava? 

A balaclava, also known as a balaclava helmet or Bally or ski mask, is a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only part of the face, usually the eyes and mouth. 

Depending on style and how it is worn, only the eyes, mouth and nose, or just the front of the face are unprotected 

While Prada’s co-creative director Raf Simons has incorporated them in his collections since the early 2000s, other designer brands have since jumped on the bandwagon – including Givenchy which is selling a £340 mesh-mohair balaclava featuring built-in horns and Cecilie Bahnsen’s £305 version, which has a frilly neck.  

Meanwhile, Loro Piana’s Achillea Balaclava, which is made from cashmere, comes with a hefty £840 price tag.

London-based designers Greater Goods have released three collections of multi-coloured hand-knitted balaclavas this year, with each selling out in just days.

The 100 per cent Japanese wool garments come with a price-tag of £129 and are described online as ‘inspired  by the great outdoors.’ 

On the other end of the price scale, Sweaty Betty is selling a £45 knit which is available in a black and grey leopard print pattern, while balaclavas at Urban Outfitters retail for as little as £20.  

Highsnobiety’s editorial director, Christopher Morency, who brands rappers such as Skepta and Pa Salieu as modern-day pinups for the garment, added: ‘Shoppers are getting more comfortable with taking sartorial risks.’

‘Now that growth has become the only acceptable performance metric in fashion as business has taken over, that means brands will sell you anything that sticks. 

‘I think therefore the balaclava will certainly be around for a long time. The group who wears it might opt in and out, and evolve; the item will not.’

In February, celebrity stylist Rochelle White spoke exclusively to FEMAIL and predicted that despite some people associating the knitwear with ‘gangs, crime and even ski wear’, balaclavas could become the accessory of the year. 

Rochelle pointed to the Beyonce’s choice to wear the head covering when promoting her latest Ivy Park collection as an indicator of the popularity of the garment. 

Cecile Bahnsen's Gaia mohair and silk hat £ 259

The pink version, which retails at £260

Cecile Bahnsen’s Gaia mohair and silk hat, £259 (left) and right, the pink version, which retails at £260

Loro Piana's Achillea Balaclava, which is made from cashmere and comes with a hefty £840 price tag

Loro Piana’s Achillea Balaclava, which is made from cashmere and comes with a hefty £840 price tag

A Sweaty Betty balaclava

A sold out headpiece from Greater Goods

Pictured left, a Sweaty Betty balaclava, and right, a sold out headpiece from Greater Goods

Justin Bieber donned a balaclava when he performed during the The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York

Justin Bieber donned a balaclava when he performed during the The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York

Stone Island's ribbed knit wool balaclava, £285

Marine Serre's crescent moon-print balaclava, £193

Stone Island’s ribbed knit wool balaclava, £285 (left) and right: Marine Serre’s crescent moon-print balaclava, £193

In an advert for Ivy Park x adidas clothing range, Beyonce donned a diamond encrusted balaclava beneath a bright silver hoodie. 

The stylist explained: ‘The balaclava fashion could be on the rise for a mix of reasons, like fashion brands and celebrities rocking the trend.’

She pointed to the global pandemic as another reason fashion-lovers might be looking to cover up, adding: ‘With the rise as mask-acne, this is a new way to be safe but practical.’

Meanwhile the stylist also suggested Britain’s recent cold weather spike could be prompting shoppers to wrap up. 

Stylist Rochelle White pointed to Beyonce's adidas x Ivy Park advert in which the singer wore a diamond encrusted balaclava

Stylist Rochelle White pointed to Beyonce’s adidas x Ivy Park advert in which the singer wore a diamond encrusted balaclava 

With the combination of a bitter cold winter and the Covid-19 pandemic, balaclavas are firmly back in the fashion spotlight

With the combination of a bitter cold winter and the Covid-19 pandemic, balaclavas are firmly back in the fashion spotlight

Rochelle suggested that the combination of the Covid-19 crisis and the recent cold weather has prompted the surge in popularity for the face coverings

Rochelle suggested that the combination of the Covid-19 crisis and the recent cold weather has prompted the surge in popularity for the face coverings 

Stylist Rochelle White predicted the trendy headgear could become more popular and 'more prominent' by the end of 2021

The stylist predicted the trendy headgear could become more popular and 'more prominent' by the end of 2021

Stylist Rochelle White predicted the trendy headgear could become more popular and ‘more prominent’ by the end of 2021 

Rochelle explained: ‘The weather recently, I feel, has played a part in wanting to keep warmer and feel more cosy, and so this is fitting for right now.’

She continued: ‘Brands such as Ivy ParkxAdidas and Stone island have created trendy, fashion balaclavas with social media also being a driving factor in regards to popularity.’

Rochelle added that ‘longer term’, after the winter months and the current global Covid-19 crisis have passed, the pieces might fall out of fashion.

But she predicted by next winter, the accessories could be in hot demand again, adding: ‘I think some people will still see the items as not fashion or essential due to the link to gangs, crime and even being seen as ski wear. 

‘But as the year moves on and popularity rises, Winter 2021 could be when the item is more prominent.’



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