New type of swimwear - level 3
Ahhh, the beach! Though beautiful, there's always the risk of getting a bit sunburnt. But not if you have one of these – a facekini. Whilst you could easily mistake them for bank robbers, these are actually women in China, who are being hailed as trend setters for the facial swimwear mask.
Zhang Shifan is the owner of a local swimwear store. She said she designed the original facekini in 2004, after customers' demands for a full body swimsuit mask to protect them from the sun and jellyfish stings.
Pale skin is highly-prized in China, and seen as delicate and feminine. Dark skin, on the other hand, is often associated with the undesirable tanning caused by the farming fields or doing manual labour.
While the facekini has a very loyal following across the country, Zhang says that they have an undesirable effect – scaring small children away.
"In the past, I really wanted to do everything I could to avoid scaring people. If I was to make a facekini, I wouldn't make a black one, I wouldn't make a white one, nor dark colours, 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?”
Zhang said that she has sold around 30,000 facekinis over the past year, with business gradually expanding since it started nearly 10 years ago.
Difficult words: hail (to say something is special), manual labour (when you do physical work with your hands), undesirable effect (when something happens that is not good),
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