I’m not embarrassed to admit I love fads. I grew up in the 1970s, which means I know how to rock a pair of platform shoes, a tube top, and a puka shell necklace while perfecting my string art mushrooms.
It’s also why I was thrilled to hear about the latest fad sweeping China — clipping plastic plants to your head. No one really knows how or when this trend started. But one day in Chendu, a city in southwest China known for its hip and laidback lifestyle, people started wearing hair clips that had little plastic beanstalks protruding from them.
Soon, people were wearing all manner of plastic vegetation, including clovers, sunflowers, mushrooms, cherries, gourds, and pine trees. And as with all great fads, a corresponding hashtag was born: #SproutHair. Although I would have gone with #VegeHead. Or maybe #GeeYourHairSmellsLikePlastic.
Stalls and shops selling the little plastic hair plants have popped up all over China, especially in the tourist-heavy areas of Beijing. And the fad even got a celebrity boost when Jay Chou, the “King of Asian Pop,” was seen wearing bean sprouts with his wife, Hannah.
There’s some disagreement about why the fad started in the first place. Some people think it was an attempt to make a subtle political statement about the horrible levels of pollution in China. Well, at least as subtle as plastic gourds on your head can be. Besides, we all know nothing says environmental consciousness like mass-producing a shit-ton of plastic plants.
Others think the trend started because of a rediscovered love for the ‘90s British TV children’s show Teletubbies. To which I say, why not stick a couple of pine trees in your hair and celebrate some good old-fashioned butt tickling?
However, my favorite explanation for the plastic plant hair fad is it’s happening just to happen. As college student Wang Hao said, “Nobody knows what it means, but we do it anyway.” Damn straight, Wang. Don’t try to explain it, because any attempt to explain it ruins the fun. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “art is a lie that makes us realize truth.” And in this case, truth is a cranberry clipped to your hair, apparently.
Of course, Picasso also said women are “either goddesses or doormats.” So on second thought, fuck that guy.
But to all the people in China who have decided to embrace the gloriously goofy fad of wearing plastic plants in your hair, I salute you!