We can’t pinpoint where the concept of wearing flowers in your hair originated. Was it Hawaii? Was it San Francisco? (It definitely wasn’t Coachella.)
Regardless, trendsetters across China recently decided that a crown of daisies or decorative hibiscus was way too overdone, so they came up with their own take. Behold, the latest must-have hair accessories: plastic arrangements and sprouts in the shapes of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The look is so hot in Beijing right now.
This is not the kind of thing that was spotted on a handful of fashion-conscious teenagers and declared a trend by someone a little more out of the loop. According to the New York Times, the headwear fad put down its roots a few months ago with most participants opting for “a humble bean sprout clipped to the hair,” but it has since grown to encompass everything from lavender, clovers, and chrysanthemums to … gourds.
No one is able to say where the trend came from with any kind of certainty. Some newspaper reports have credited “ancient Chinese teachings about harmony with nature” with starting the phenomenon, with others saying Teletubbies may actually be to blame. Japanese-style emoticons are another theory. But as Chinese college student Wang Hao told NYT, “[The accessories] show that in China now, we’ll try almost anything that we see on the Internet. Nobody knows what it means, but we do it anyway.”
Indeed, the mainstream acceptance of decorative vegetation as a fashion statement followed photos posted online of Jay Chou, a popular Taiwanese singer, and his wife sporting the bean sprouts at the heart of the trend. Bean sprouts, a market wholesaler confirmed, are still the most popular item. And no, this is not a kids-only trend—it has spread far and wide to all (yes, all) age groups.
We’re getting major flashbacks to the initial stage of the flower crown craze, which has since reached its saturation point. If this Chinese trend seems way bizarre to you, ask yourself: Is it really that much stranger than walking around your city with tiny blossoms affixed to your head?