Sprout of Control: the strangest, new trend to take over China

Move over flower crowns, bean sprouts are where it’s at.

In the latest (and perhaps strangest) new fashion in China, women and men are wearing fake, clip-in bean sprouts in their hair.

Beijing fashionistas have been sporting the bean sprouts for the last few months. I was incorrectly assuming this was another “Beijing thing” when out shopping this week, I found them.


Packets of the plastic green sprouts at a local store in Nanping, Zhuhai. Five yuan for three clips. Bargain.

Now, sitting atop my red-head noggin’ are a few fake bean sprouts, a little red mushroom, and the mixed feeling that I’m both massively fashionable and a bean-headed idiot.

But why are we doing this again?

Well, according to The Beijinger, the trend sprouted (ha!) at cosplay convention, but the story I most believe is via ShanghaiIst, which says a character in Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat and the Big Bad Wolf is what inspired it all.

Slow Goat (top right) and elder of the goat village in the Chinese animated series: 喜羊羊与灰太狼.
Slow Goat (top right) is elder of the goat village in the Chinese animated series: 喜羊羊与灰太狼.

The New York Times reports Wednesday that the trend grows bigger everyday.

“When the trend started a few months ago, it was usually just a humble bean sprout clipped to the hair and erect like a little green flagpole. … But as the fad ramped up, especially during the current National Day holiday week when Beijing fills with visitors, it has escalated and diversified to include a riot of plastic vegetation. Now heads are bristling with clover, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, lavender, mushrooms, chilies, cherries, gourds and pine trees.”

Chinese women and men are wearing the fake plants. Pic: NYTimes
Chinese women and men are wearing the fake plants.
Pic: NYTimes
Not even pets are safe...
Not even pets are safe…

See more Instagram pics by searching the hashtag #豆芽 (Mandarin for ‘bean sprouts’). 

Kooky doesn’t begin to cut it with this new trend. But hey, if you’re an expat in China you can pretty much wear whatever you like.

It hasn’t yet arrived to Zhuhai in full-force but it’s only a matter of time. Maybe the seedlings will sprout legs overseas, too. Perhaps even back home to Paris.

Baguette clips, anyone?


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