CAN’T FEEL MY FACE: BALACLAVAS

SIMAY KESKINTEPE

This modest and convenient piece has made its way into the high fashion hats on TikTok, Instagram and on the runways. But, why has balaclava become a fashion trend?

SIMAY KESKINTEPE

If your style is influenced by the latest fashion trends on social media, you must have seen at least one balaclava on your feed; in fact, they are so popular that these berets, which confuse everyone, are the most seen pieces on TikTok.

These days, you’re even likely to see them worn by models, celebrities, influencers, and anonymous street style heroes in high-fashion cities like New York City. Balaclavas that have more style than function, are usually knit or made of nylon. Brands have been trying to get their piece of the cake since balaclavas made their first appearance as a craft on the craftcore scene. And TikTok is leading the trend.

On TikTok, the hashtag #balaclava has 122.7 million views currently and on Instagram 258,259 people shared about the unusual accessory. The question of “how to knit wool” has become one of the most searched on Google in the last year and has probably become the favorite pandemic hobby of Gen Z. However, fashion icons seem divided about the return of knitted goodies, which look like a combination of a mask and a beret. While some see Kim Kardashian and her all-black Met Gala look as a pioneer of the trend, the rest is team TikTok, which seems to be the fashion authority these days.

@fridahollund

Another 15 min balaclava💁🏼‍♀️I freestyle them so Im sorry i dont have a pattern 4 u #knit #balaclava

♬ yeah hot people use this sound – cxaluv

The accessory has become a winter favorite partly because of its convenience in a world where masks are mandatory. The pioneers of TikTok fashion think that they have become very popular due to the fact that people are more comfortable when part of their faces covered, and this trend may be an indication that the reality of the pandemic is also shaping fashion.

Trends are moving so fast thanks to TikTok that now almost every new fashion piece that appears on the app acutally does not disappear immediately. For five or six years, there has been a long-standing debate about whether bell-bottom and low-waist jeans are making a comeback and what kind of jeans are trending. And to be honest, all jeans are in right now. Because, just like for balaclavas, they have the potential to look unusual or avant-garde. On the other hand, even if everyone wears balaclavas, it will not be one of the basic items, such as a bomber jacket. Why, you may ask? There is no such thing as a basic piece on Tiktok. Gen Z’s sense of style is faster than season’s change.

https://www.tiktok.com/@kelsey_kotzur/video/7040913682955717934?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

Maybe we’ve all gotten used to covering our faces? I think we’ve all been trying to adapt to the changes in being out and about, seeing each other and interacting with other people over the past two years. And that means that we can certainly get used to or even need a piece of it that allows you to feel some kind of protection and even create some kind of a barrier, whether psychological or physical, from the rest of the world. As the mask restrictions were loosened, it almost didn’t feel comfortable to go back to a completely naked face. Are we ready to be brave once again? After all, balaclavas can offer an opportunity to turn our masks into an artistic freedom.