Balaclava Fashion Trend ‘Threat to Women’ | Fashion

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A growing fashion trend for men’s balaclavas that has seen sales surge has been condemned as inappropriate – due to the clothing’s association with attacks on women.

The fashion for face-covering headwear has been hailed by style writers as one of the key trends for 2022 after being worn by a number of influential musicians and sports stars.

They filtered from the catwalk to the main street, with versions from North Face, Adidas and Puma available.

Fashion shopping platform Lyst reported that web searches for men’s headwear jumped 344% year-over-year between 2021 and 2022, while the website recently selected the balaclava as one of the “hottest” products in the last quarter of 2021 based on data collected from Google, Instagram and Depop. On the resale site StockX, searches for balaclavas have more than quintupled in the last two months of 2021.

Justin Bieber performing in New York, September 2021. Photography: Kevin Mazur/MG21/Getty Images for the Met Museum/Vogue

But some feminists and women’s rights groups have called the trend “inappropriate” and “irresponsible” because balaclavas have long been associated with crime, particularly sexual assault against women.

Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage, a travel company specializing in women’s safety, said: “Meeting someone with a balaclava can be extremely triggering and worrying for those of us who are hyper-vigilant about our safety. personal. The balaclava has long been a garment associated with and adopted by bad actors.

Madeleine Black, sexual violence activist and author of Uninterrupted, who details his survival of such experiences, said: ‘I would definitely associate balaclavas with violence and criminal activity and would feel very uncomfortable around men wearing them in my neighborhood. It seems to be an inappropriate fashion trend that makes women feel more unsafe and vulnerable. It would make me wonder why the wearer wants to hide their face.

Jeanette Forder, who is a women’s rights activist and life coach, said she was horrified by the trend: “I’m a runner and I worry about my own safety because I often go out alone and I have felt intimidated by men in the past – having had men screaming out of car windows and being flashed So making balaclavas a mainstream fashion accessory is a huge no-no for me and should be for society as a whole. They make it easy for men to commit crimes and escape detection. For a woman, they are particularly intimidating. This is a truly disturbing development. I am amazed at see how irresponsible the fashion industry is.

The trend seems to have started when label Vetements, popular with the likes of Ye and Drake, started selling them in 2018.

The growth was fueled by TikTok, where videos of drivers wearing sunglasses over balaclavas became a trend and the term ‘balaclava’ generated more than 152 million views.

They’ve appeared at recent shows, including Jonathan Anderson at Loewe, Matthew Williams at 1017 Alyx 9SM, Ernest W Baker, Y/Project and Rick Owens and Cortiez. Even high-end Stella McCartney has a version – for £295.

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