Photography courtesy of Eliza Faulkner

Its resurgence raises important questions.

With the rise of protective dressings thanks to COVID-19, a new trend in facial bandage is taking the fashion world by storm: the balaclava.

Although the knitted hoodie is enjoying a renewed notoriety online today, it has been around for centuries. The name itself comes from the town of Balaklava, Crimea, where during the 19th century Crimean War soldiers wore hand-knitted masks to provide additional protection from the elements.

The hat / scarf combo is usually made of wool and comes in many variations: those with openings all over the face; those with openings for the eyes, mouth and nose; and those with openings only for the eyes.

As many of us chose or perfected hobbies like crafts during the pandemic, handmade balaclavas became the lockdown trend of the day, inspiring new color patterns and eccentric shapes in the world. accessory for cold weather.

With a seductive and comfortable look, the balaclava offers the social security of a mask that we have all become used to (I myself am not yet ready to show my whole face in public). Plus, its close-to-face design provides a layer of warmth in frigid weather.

As face masks have become a staple of everyday life, the fashion for covering the face has become normalized and even celebrated. When Kim Kardashian arrived at the 2021 Met Gala in a Balenciaga ensemble that covered her from head to toe, she was applauded for making a bold statement opting for complete anonymity. The look was certainly indicative of the times we live in, but historically cultural face coverings haven’t received the same acclaim.

Racism and Islamophobia continue to contribute to negative attitudes towards face coverings. In Canada, there are legislation that limits Muslim communities to wear cultural headgear and face coverings such as hijabs and turbans. And as the pandemic mask warrants have sparked discussions that racialized groups, in particular Black communities, have long experimented with profiling for wearing face coverings.

As balaclavas continue to carve out a niche in the fashion world, muslim designers emphasized the double standard.

Needless to say, the balaclava has become a staple in winter style. Tempted to try out the cozy knitted accessory, but not quite ready to make one yourself? Read on to check out some of our top hood picks this season.

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