Wear a certain type of balaclava in public and onlookers might assume you’re out for trouble. They’d – hopefully – be wrong, but the perception is an interesting one to unpick. Despite their association with crime, balaclavas aren’t illegal in the UK (unless you refuse to remove one when asked to by a police officer). But much like many dogs that are deemed dangerous, balaclavas themselves are actually adorable – if they show your face, that is.
The adorability of balaclavas probably has something to do with the fact that they frame your face as though you were a baby wearing a bonnet. Oddly enough, this tends to be flattering. They could also serve as makeshift masks at a push, although you should probably stick to surgical ones. Either way, balaclavas are now “extremely popular,” says Faddy Velmi, co-founder of Scruff, a Peckham-based studio and shop that operates by appointment and via Instagram. They “sell out in minutes on our [Instagram] stories,” she continues.
So far, all of Scruff’s balaclavas have been knitted by Faddy’s mother-in-law – “a balaclava innovator,” as Faddy defines her. For Rafaella Hutchinson, the other half of Scruff, the handmade nature of their balaclavas – and their subsequent popularity – is a sign of the times: “I think a positive of lockdown is people have more time to be creative, I’ve really loved seeing the rise in people starting their own little ventures and, in turn, everyone making an effort to support small, sustainable and independent businesses,” she says.
Mostly, however, it’s just fucking freezing – and nothing insulates your head quite like a balaclava. If you anticipate skiing in the (distant) future, we recommend one by either Perfect Moment or Sweaty Betty. But, if it’s faultless face-framing you desire, Falke Ergonomic System would be our choice. And, if you want something affordable, there’s always Mango.