Nazi Chic to Makeup for Men: Unbelievable Fashion Trends in Asia
In 2011, a Chinese couple provoked global outrage when their Nazi themed wedding photos went viral. The groom wore the black uniform of the S.S, complete with the death’s head cap, made infamous by the unit that ran the concentration camps. His groomsmen carried replica Mauser rifles and wore jackboots. The bride wore a blonde wig.
Shocking to westerners? Sure. But these Chinese kids aren’t Nazis or racists. They probably haven’t even heard of World War II (besides China’s involvement, which is all they would have studied in History class.) This is a fashion statement, not a political one.
While Nazi chic is easily the most offensive East Asian fashion trend, it might not be the weirdest. Here’s what the cool kids are wearing on the other side of the Pacific.
LOLITA — JAPAN
Or dressing like a doll… lolita encompasses a range of styles from the sickeningly cutesy ama-loli (sweet lolita) to a post-goth, Tim Burton look. What unites the lolita subcultures is an obsession with lace and delicate fabrics. The style pays homage to Edwardian and Victorian England.
Recently, the lolita look has inspired two Muslim fashion bloggers to give this Japanese style a veiled twist.
NAZI CHIC — SOUTH KOREA, CHINA, THAILAND
The city where I lived in Korea had an infamous ‘Hitler bar.’ Last year, a K-Pop group got some flack for their Nazi themed outfits. But no matter how often this repugnant trend gets shamed, it doesn’t seem to be going away.
At the root of this is ignorance; you could even say innocence. Chinese and Korean students are so busy cramming for standardized tests, they don’t have a lot of time to contextualize the history of a small European country that’s better known for BMW.
A more cynical take is that this is Europhillia run amuck. If there’s one thing China and Korea excel at, it’s knocking off European exports–think Louis Vitton. Germany: best at car, best at beer, best at totalitarian regime…
It’s worth mentioning that the Nazis stole the swastika from Buddhist scripture. The original symbol is still used today. It’s a jarring experience the first time you see one painted on the side of a building to mark the way to a temple. I once saw a monk with diamond studded swastika earrings.
GLITTER PUFFS — JAPAN
Enough said. If you want more glitter, click here…we won’t tell anyone.
GANGURO GIRLS — JAPAN
Step 1: Tan yourself dark brown, either from a bottle or at a number of Japanese tanning salons with racially problematic names e.g ‘Blacky’s.’
Step 2: Die your hair white, silver, or platinum blonde. Wash your hair rarely if ever.
Step 3: Insert bright contact lenses, star shapes and cat eyes are good too.
Step 4: Liberally apply glitter and white lipstick. Use black ink around your eyes and darken the skin around your armpits with makeup (I’m not making this up.)
Step 5: Get lousy with bracelets and cheap jewelry. Think the raver/ candy kid look.
Step 6: Don the shortest skirt imaginable and a really bright top. You’re going for the will-suck-cock-for-molly vibe.
Step 7: Get wild like the ‘mountain witch’ of ancient lore from whom ganguro girls borrow their aesthetic.
Even if you knew this was a thing before visiting Japan, nothing prepares you for your first Ganguro sighting.
TAKE IVY — JAPAN
In the 1960s, a group of Japanese sartorialists visited America to document Ivy League fashion. On their return they published Take Ivy and a revolution was born.
The look is more mod than prep–think Steve McQueen meets Franny and Zooey. At any rate, the Japanese Ivy boys don’t look as slap-worthy as the American’s they’re imitating.
GQ has a slideshow from Take Ivy that’s literally too cool for school.
HANGOVER MAKEUP — JAPAN & SOUTH KOREA
Remember heroin-chic? The land of the rising sun has brought it back in a big way. Girls in Japan are using makeup and Instagram filters to appear hungover or more hungover than they actually are. Some have taken it a step further, not showering after nights out and neglecting their teeth.
MAKEUP FOR MEN — SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is the world’s largest consumer of cosmetic products and men make up over 20% of the market.
Fierce competition for corporate jobs (that require applicants to submit head-shots) and the cultural hegemony of K-pop have men striving for a look that is, for lack of a better term, girly as all fuck.
They even have acne-friendly camouflage face paint for guys doing their mandatory military service.
SHORT SKIRTS — SOUTH KOREA
Like really short, to the point where anyone arriving from Cambodia or Thailand would assume you’re a pro. With this trend comes the common practice of pervy old men taking up-skirt cameraphone shots on the subway.
In Korea, cleavage and bare shoulders are risqué. As long as all that’s covered up feel free to have your labia hanging out. Actually.
* * *
There you have it. Now choose, which one are you?
Images: Not sited. The Far East ins’t known for respecting copyright laws.