The "face-kini", a trendy product among Chinese female beach-goers in recent years, is now available with designs of Beijing Opera face paintings.
The facial swimwear mask, first born in 2004, has become widely popular in a culture where females value pale skin as delicate and feminine. Zhang Shifan, a former accountant from Qingdao city in Shandong province and the product's inventor, came up with the idea based on customers' requests for a full-body swim mask that would protect them from the sun and jellyfish.
Zhang says despite the product's remarkable success, it also scared small children and other visitors at the beach. To fix the problem, Zhang thought of incorporating the widely popular face paintings from traditional Peking Opera for the product's latest and fifth version.
"In the past I really wanted to do everything I could to avoid scaring people. If I was to make a face-kini, I wouldn't make a black one, I wouldn't make a white one, nor dark colors, nor brown, nor even grey... But scaring people still couldn't be avoided. So I thought--why don't I draw on some of these Peking opera designs that Chinese people like? So little children might not be so scared when they see these designs."
At only 30 yuan a pair (换成人民币，因为是面向国内读者的), Zhang's creation has attracted a loyal following across China as well as many counterfeits.
The "face-kini" sold around 30,000 units last year. As China enters its summer season, Zhang plans to begin sales of the updated version in early August.
马上学：“脸基尼”这么时髦的词，大妈们可能想不到。很明显，face-kini也是一个合成词，源于face和bikini，所以我们直译为“脸基尼”。类似还有很多跟bikini有关的拼接词汇，比如tankini（tank+bikini，“坦基尼”，无袖短上装和比基尼下装的泳衣）和mankini（male + bikini，男性比基尼）。例：To better enjoy swimming in the sea, Chinese women have got a new item of clothing: the face-kini.（为了更好地在海中畅游，中国女性有了新装备：脸基尼。）