Fashion trend of sprouts on heads hit Beijing

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Anyone who's strolled around tourist areas in Beijing recently may have noticed a unique fashion trend, with people wearing plastic plants on their heads.

The undated photo shows a girl wears a “sprouts” hairpin on her head. [Photo: Xinhua]

The undated photo shows a girl wears a “sprouts” hairpin on her head. [Photo: Xinhua]

The trend began in mid-August when social media was flooded with people posting photos of them wearing "sprouts" on their heads.

However, the new trend didn't seem to win the hearts of Beijing residents until recently.

"Sprouts" are actually a new style of hairpins which come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from clovers to mushrooms.

24-year-old medical student Yan Xue, who sometimes sports at least two sprouts on her head, said she began wearing them after celebrities caught onto the trend.

"When I first saw it, I thought it looked pretty strange, but everyone was wearing them and it became a popular trend, I sort of thought it was really silly and fun, then I started wearing one. And then a lot of celebrities started wearing them, and taking photos (of themselves), so I started to go with the flow. I think it's really fun. Walking here on the street you can see a lot of people wearing them, so I bought some. Importantly, they're not expensive."

The sprouts are usually sold for around five yuan, less than one US dollar, for a pair in most parts of the city.

They are most prevalent around Nanluoguxiang, a popular tourist area mostly comprised of gentrified hutongs.

Shi Song, a street vendor who has been selling the sprouts since early August, explained how well the hairpins have been selling.

"When seeing someone wearing it and looking good, he gets one too. That is how it works in general, so in the end many people end up buying it. One person buys first, then ten would follow, then many more would buy too. This is how it works."

The growing popularity of sprouts has also ignited a hot debate over the origin of the hair decoration.

The blame was at first placed on Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province, where the sprout had already been spotted earlier this summer.

Some netizens have drawn comparisons between the sprout and certain regional headwear trends documented in ancient Chinese history, while others say they are merely a reference to a character from a popular home-made cartoon, known as "Pleasant Goat".

Beijing has seen a number of strange headwear fashions in recent years, from bunny ears to furry hats.

Whatever the actual origins and meaning of the sprouts, some would say they just want to have fun.

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