As designers, secondhand stores and designers get on the trend, searches for ‘balaclava’ increase by 145%.
Low-slung jeans, string tops and string tops have been claiming 2021’s fashion-trend crown. However, a more revealing item seems to have taken their place. Surprisingly, the balaclava is the most popular trend for the season. This is a snood-like headwear that you will see more often on ski slopes or in combat.
Depop, a secondhand clothing website, has seen a 145% rise in searches for balaclavas over the past month. Lyst’s global fashion platform has seen page views for the one piece increase 18% month-on-month.
Lyst attributes the rise of the balaclava to Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala outfit by Balenciaga. This featured a full-face cover, and after that, searches for balaclavas increased by 62% in 48 hours. According to Morgane Le Caer, Lyst’s content leader, the “wider” fetish-facewear trend has gained traction on the platform in the past weeks. Depop points out TikTok which is witnessing a revival in “retro accessories”, styling videos featuring generation Z “reclaiming” the trend.
There are many retro options available on the secondhand marketplace to recycle and repurpose balaclavas. They were named after the Battle for Balaclava, 1854 Crimean War. Fashion designers like Stella McCartney and Marine Serre are placing the headgear front and center in their new collections, which start at PS150.
Others are also trying to break new ground. PS340 is the price of Givenchy’s mesh-mohair balaclava. It has built-in horns. Cecilie Bahnsen, a Danish designer, has created a frilly pie crust neck for her version (PS305). Loro Piana offers a PS900 version in chunky argyle knit. Arket, & Other Stories and Urban Outfitters have more affordable options on the high-street starting from PS15.
Christopher Morency, Highsnobiety’s editorial director, says that Prada’s current co-creative chief Raf Simons is responsible for making them fashionable again. Since the 2000s, Simons has included them in his ready to wear collections.
Morency says that when brands see success with an unanticipated item elsewhere, merchandisers across all levels can’t help but tell their design teams to make it again.” Fashion is not as original as you think.”
He mentions Skepta and Pa Salieu, two UK rappers, as examples of modern-day pinups for balaclavas. He says that the privacy, practicality, and protection that come with wearing one are all factors in its revival. Morency says that shoppers are becoming more comfortable taking sartorial risk. He believes that the balaclava will not be a temporary trend but one that will last a lifetime.
He says that fashion brands are willing to sell anything that sticks, as growth is now the only acceptable performance indicator in fashion. “I believe the balaclava will be around for a long while. It is possible for the group that wears it to decide to leave or change their minds.”