China’s plant accessory sprouting global trend

China’s latest fashion trend is making news around the world, not for its trendsetting ways, but for being a head-scratcher. This year’s must-have accessory wearing an upright sprout on your head.

Walk along the streets of any major Chinese city, and you will spot young adults and teenagers with plants growing out of their heads. Watch any reality program, and you will see little shoots popping out among the audience.

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Even the rich and famous are also sporting these plastic plants. In September, mandopop singer Jay Chou and his wife posted a photo of them wearing the hair clip.

Vendors have spun off the accessory into a variety of plant headgear, from flowers to mushrooms, to chillies and pine trees. One vendor on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao told that he had monthly sales of almost 10,000 pieces, each selling for less than one Chinese yuan (about USD0.16). He said most of his customers were street vendors, and the sprout version was the most popular.

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According to The New York Times, while the trend started a few months ago, it is not known how it originated. Some of the theories are that vendors either got the idea from a set of popular Japanese emojis or from a sheep character on a popular Chinese animated series who have a sprout on their heads.

The power of social media is also credited for propelling the trend. Many have seen selfies of people wearing the hair clips, and decided to follow suit. When Chou’s wife Hannah Quinlivan shared their photo, it sparked a wave of interest, and more celebrities have also followed suit. K-Pop stars G-Dragon from Big Bang and Dara from 2NE1 have also donned the hair clips.

Distraction from the mundane life is one of the reasons why this trend became very popular, one sociologist told CNN. Gao Xuan Yang from Shanghai Jiao Tong University said that the fun clips may help to ease the stress of modern life, and most do not care for the meaning behind the clips.


In fact, you don’t even need to buy the clips to join in the quirky trend. When a photo of the sprout clips was posted on migme, a social media platform popular in places such as Nepal and Indonesia, many users shared their own versions by using real plants and trended #SproutSelfie.

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The original post of the sprout clips on

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@miucia wore an onion instead of plants or flowers.Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.28.11 amScreen Shot 2015-11-30 at 7.00.11 pm

@farhangajra asked a good question about DIY sprout hair clips.

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These guys seem to have no problem sticking real plants on their heads.

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Indonesian user @dj.mchiost tries to bring the trend to the streets of Indonesia.

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These girls believe in going big or going home.

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Some people to go virtual, and use avatar makers to create a character with a sprout on the head.

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“We’ve had the sprout head gear in our MiniMe avatar maker for about three months. People are looking for unique ways of self-expression, and we were looking for more quirky items to add on, such as talismans and banana peels. And we came across this trend and decided to adapt it for our app,” said Amelia Chen, the Chief Marketing Officer for LoveByte, which created the MiniMe app.

The Chinese trend has been heavily reported in many different countries, and an online search found that enterprising vendors in Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore are selling the headgear. However, the trend has not reached mainstream popularity outside of China. Yet.

– by @nattylim



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