All the Cool Kids are Wearing Balaclavas

All the Cool Kids are Wearing Balaclavas

I try to remember the 1st time I took observe of the balaclava. It was a little more than a year back, at a crowded house social gathering in deep Brooklyn. A lanky, twenty-some thing male wore a brilliant orange balaclava—despite the tropical microclimate designed by all the packed, dancing bodies. He took nonchalant sips from a pink Solo cup, mesmerizingly relaxed in his anonymity. 

At that time, I considered the moment as eccentric and kooky. Who wears a balaclava if they’re not in the arctic or planning a heist? Though balaclavas—also acknowledged as ski masks—have been preferred for a lengthy time in frigid locales this kind of as Jap and Northern Europe, they weren’t as common in a metropolis like New York. But potentially their relative out-of-placeness is what manufactured them a terrific candidate for development-forward New York type. Vibrant, striped balaclavas like the types marketed by Marni and Ella Emhoff catches your eye, but also obscures the identity of the wearer. It areas all your consideration on the apparel, not the man or woman. 

But then balaclavas went from an intriguing rarity to a bubbling trend. When I walked my French bulldog all over my former neighborhood of Mattress-Stuy, foolhardy daredevils would zip by on bikes and 4-wheelers and conduct their tips while carrying a balaclava.

Not also very long after, for the duration of the to start with wave of the Omicron-variant in December of 2021, balaclavas served as multi-goal facemasks. They also infiltrated rap society seemingly right away all over this time, far too. Drill rappers this kind of as Tion Wayne and SL wore ski masks all through their songs films and performances. Nicki Minaj even started marketing some for $40 just after she rapped about the trending accent in a really hard-edged collaboration with rapper Lil Baby. 

All of a sudden, it appeared as if a specific sect of hip hop culture—and its passionate, inventive fans—had taken a distinctive liking to balaclavas. As Brooklyn drill rapper Lola Brooke describes of the phenomenon, “In Brooklyn, we know what will be the major fashion statements ahead of it requires off!” 

These times, the balaclava is as probable to be noticed in deep Bushwick as it is in, say, a Paris Style 7 days display or a trendy bar in downtown Manhattan. They have been spotted on the runways of an ever-expanding checklist of reveals, spanning both menswear and womenswear: Marni, Loewe, Y-Challenge, Kenzo, Simone Rocha, and far more. The most recent Louis Vuitton menswear collection—created with Colm Dillan of KidSuper—featured a variety of leather-based and latex balaclavas paired with meeting-all set fits and overcoats. British designer Marine Serre upped the ante by offering masks that even address the nose and mouth, leaving only the eyes uncovered and generating one thing much more primed for, say, Rihanna’s iconic “S&M” visual.