If you just don't get the Oliver Twist-esque street urchin look that defines hipster fashion, or the weird, two-tone hair (it's called ombre!) that so many celebrities have, you'll be downright mystified by these trends from around the globe.
1. Shippo, The Brain-Controlled Tail
All humans have tails. At least we do early on, about 3 to 4 weeks into our embryonic development. But they evolve no further than that ... until now. Japanese company Neurowear has recently unveiled the body-controlled Shippo (translation: tail). This fuzzy little backside duster tells the world if you’re happy or sad, bored or frisky. It does this via an EEG headset and a clip-on heart monitor that are wired to the fluffy appendage. Shippo also features geotagging and smart phone sharing capability, which allows devotees to find each other and engage in mutual tail wagging.
2. Bagel-Shaped Forehead Injections
Though it looks like Botox gone wild, it's saline, not botulinum toxin, that’s being injected into the foreheads of willing subjects. Part of a Japanese “body modification” art scene, the procedure takes about 2 hours and 400cc of saline, injected via a crochet-sized needle. The resulting forehead-sized blob is then manipulated with the fingers into a bagel-like shape, with an indentation pressed in the middle (the effect brings to mind Worf from Star Trek: TNG) . Fortunately, these injections aren’t permanent. They’re gone in about 16 hours, after the body absorbs the saline.
3. Yaeba Teeth
Maybe we’ve taken the ideal of perfectly straight, white teeth as far as it can go. That seems to be the message behind the trend of Yaeba, which means “double tooth” in Japanese. Many women are choosing dental crowns that elongate their canine teeth and give the effect of dental overcrowding (not to mention a vaguely vampire-ish vibe). Why? Because in Japanese culture, young women with these kind of crooked teeth are considered cute and innocent. One does have to wonder if it makes flossing more difficult.
Walk along the beach in China’s coastal city of Qingdao, and you might think you’re in the middle of a Mexican wrestlers’ convention. But its just the locals wearing face-kinis—colorful protective masks that cover all but the nose, mouth and eyes. The reason? They’re trying to maintain their fair complexions. Apparently, in metro areas of China, having a tan gives one the undesirable look of a peasant farmer.
5. Pollution Masks
Another facial accessory from China. These masks started off with a more practical application, which is keeping the toxic fumes of polluted cities out of one’s lungs. But now they’ve also become mini-fashion statements, with designs from polka dots to patterns by Louis Vuitton.
6. Extraocular Implants
If the eyes are the windows of the souls, then consider these implants as window dressing. They are tiny pieces of metallic jewelry—hearts, stars, Euro signs—inserted beneath the cornea. The trend started in the Netherlands about ten years ago, and that’s still the only place where it’s legal for ophthalmologists to perform the procedure.
7. Mexican Pointy Boots
This trend reportedly began 3 years ago, when a mysterious man in northeastern Mexico named “Cesar of Huizache” started sporting extreme footwear—sequined boots with 3-to-4-foot foam extensions that curled at the tips. (Think elf shoes, as imagined by Tim Burton.) The fad spread among the younger generation, and has since become associated with dance competitions and fashion-conscious cliques of club kids.
8. Ear Pointing
Don’t we all aspire to be a little more like Mr. Spock? In what sounds like an extremely painful procedure, the top of the ear’s cartilage is sliced open, then sewn back together in a point. Arizona–based body modification artist Steve Haworth, who started performing the procedures about ten years ago, says, “There’s a lot of people out there who have an inner vision of themselves and they want to express that to the world around them. I’m very happy to be an artist that can provide that kind of work.” Highly illogical, Steve.
9. Bird Poop Facials
Proof that the trend towards all things organic can be taken too far? This technique was borrowed from geishas, who once used nightingale droppings as a natural exfoliant. Today, fancy salons from Tokyo to Hollywood combine the powdered bird poop with rice bran and ultraviolet light to sanitize the skin. Price? $180.
10. Mind-Controlled Cat Ears
Hello, Kitty! A few years ago, the same Japanese company that gave us the wagging Shippo tails introduced the “necomimi” (a combination of Japanese words for “cat” and “ear”). With a headband that supposedly responds to the wearer’s brain waves, the ears are triggered to mimic a feline’s—laying flat when the person is bored or tired, wriggling and turning when they’re amused or intrigued, and so on.
11. Nose Waxing
This salon trend has been growing in popularity over the past few years. So much so that there’s now a home version, called Nad’s Nose Wax. Just apply hot wax to applicator and put it up your nose, wait 90 seconds, then yank the applicator from nose. Ouch? You bet.