Are BALACLAVAS the unlikely fashion accessory of the year?

Are BALACLAVAS the unlikely fashion accessory of 2021? Stylist says the ‘practical’ and ‘trendy’ knitwear that doubles as a face mask could be the hero piece of winter lockdown

  • Balaclavas are seeing an unlikely rise in popularity amidst the Covid-19 crisis 
  • Online searches for knitted headgear rose 59 per cent between 2019 and 2020
  • Brands such as Stone Island and Greater Goods have sold out of the accessory 
  • Celebrity stylist Rochelle White called the face covering ‘practical’ and ‘trendy’  
  • She predicted the item could become even more popular in Winter 2021  

A stylist has revealed why ‘practical’ and ‘trendy’ balaclavas could become the hero accessory of 2021 amid a winter cold winter and the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Wall Street Journal has declared the ‘functional yet creepy’ garment is making a ‘pandemic comeback’, while according to The Guardian, online searches for the unusual fashion accessory rose 59 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

In recent months, fashion brands including Sweaty Betty and Stone Island have released versions of the knitted headgear, and several collections from sustainable label Greater Goods have sold out in just days. 

Celebrity stylist Rochelle White told FEMAIL that despite some people associating the knitwear with ‘gangs, crime and even ski wear’, balaclavas could become the accessory of the year.

With the combination of a bitter cold winter and the Covid-19 pandemic, balaclavas are firmly back in the fashion spotlight


Celebrity stylist Rochelle White told FEMAIL that despite some people associating the knitwear with ‘gangs, crime and even ski wear’, she predicted balaclavas could become the accessory of the year by winter 2021 (pictured left, a Sweaty Betty balaclava, and right, a sold out headpiece from Greater Goods) 

Rochelle pointed to the Beyonce’s recent choice to wear the head covering when promoting her latest Ivy Park collection as an indicator of the popularity of the garment. 

In a new advert for the latest Ivy Park x adidas clothing range, Beyonce donned a diamond encrusted balaclava beneath a bright silver hoodie. 

The stylist explained: ‘The balaclava fashion could be on the rise for a mix of reasons, like fashion brands and celebrities rocking the trend.’

She pointed to the global pandemic as another reason fashion-lovers might be looking to cover up, adding: ‘With the rise as mask-acne, this is a new way to be safe but practical.’

Rochelle suggested that the combination of the Covid-19 crisis and the recent cold weather has prompted the surge in popularity for the face coverings 

Meanwhile the stylist also suggested Britain’s recent cold weather spike could be prompting shoppers to wrap up.

What is a balaclava? 

A balaclava, also known as a balaclava helmet or Bally or ski mask, is a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only part of the face, usually the eyes and mouth. 

Depending on style and how it is worn, only the eyes, mouth and nose, or just the front of the face are unprotected 

Rochelle explained: ‘The weather recently, I feel, has played a part in wanting to keep warmer and feel more cosy, and so this is fitting for right now.’

She continued: ‘Brands such as Ivy ParkxAdidas and Stone island have created trendy, fashion balaclavas with social media also being a driving factor in regards to popularity.’

Rochelle added that ‘longer term’, after the winter months and the current global Covid-19 crisis have passed, the pieces might fall out of fashion.

But she predicted by next winter, the accessories could be in hot demand again, adding: ‘I think some people will still see the items as not fashion or essential due to the link to gangs, crime and even being seen as ski wear. 

‘But as the year moves on and popularity rises, Winter 2021 could be when the item is more prominent.’

Balaclavas started appearing on high fashion runways and fashion weeks around the world in 2019, before booming in popularity in 2020. 

Meanwhile the stylist also pointed to Beyonce’s recent adidas x Ivy Park advert in which the singer wore a diamond encrusted balaclava 

During the advert, the mother-of-three opted for a silver balaclava which she paired with a silver jacket and trousers 

While fashion labels such as Celine and Raf Simons released practical and covetable pieces, popular and affordable brands including Sweaty Betty and Stone Island also included balaclavas as part of their winter collections this year.

While Stone Island’s orange lambswool headpiece sold out online, Sweaty Betty £45 knit is still available in a black and grey leopard print pattern.

Meanwhile London based designers Greater Goods have released three collections of multi-coloured hand-knitted balaclavas, with each selling out in just days.

The  100 per cent Japanese wool garments come with a price-tag of £129 and are described online as ‘inspired  by the great outdoors.’      

Models have been strutting down the runway at fashion shows in Milan and Kyiv wearing the unlikely accessory in bright colours 


The stylist predicted the trendy headgear could become more popular and ‘more prominent’ by the end of 2021 

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