Uniqlo stores in China hit by craze of women playing dress-up in kids' outfits, damaging clothes

Alice Yan, South China Morning Post

Posted at Mar 06 2021 01:32 PM

A customer wearing a face mask shops at a Uniqlo store inside a shopping mall in Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, Feb. 1, 2020. Stringer via Reuters

A sweeping Chinese trend of grown women squeezing into childrenswear to show off their waistlines has been attacked by people online, who call the craze “unethical”.

Online posts showing teenagers and women in their 20s posing in changing rooms of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo in barely-there T-shirts have become wildly popular online recently.

The fashion trend is called “BM style”, which stands for Brandy Melville, a popular but controversial Italian women’s clothing shop that stocks only extra small and small sizes.

While some women buy children’s clothing to fit their petite frames, most online posts include photos of young adult women squeezing into the too-small T-shirts so they can appear cute and skinny with slim waists.

Fashion bloggers said they preferred the childrenswear’s colourful designs and cheaper price over the less interesting adult pieces.

However, the fashion trend has been criticised recently because the customers trying on the T-shirts show little interest in purchasing the items; instead discarding the stretched and damaged clothing on the changing room floors after taking selfies.

Uniqlo staff said the customers often damaged the clothing by either stretching it or staining it after leaving their lip print or make-up on the collar.

“I saw a woman 170cm tall go to the fitting room with a T-shirt made for children up to 120cm. The result is the T-shirt has been stretched too much and we can only deal with it as waste,” said a worker at a Uniqlo store in Chengdu, in the western Sichuan province, news app Red Star News reported.

The unidentified worker said some T-shirts that had been destroyed by the antics of fashion followers had to be sold at much-reduced prices.

A Uniqlo shop assistant in Shanghai told the Post their store did not forbid customers trying on childrenswear but would advise them to instead try their own size on.

“We also tell customers to keep the clothes clean and complete and take care of the clothes,” said the worker, who did not want to be identified. 
Some internet users accused the women of lacking ethics while others have taken offence at the trend.

“We can’t point the finger at them if they try on the children’s clothes and buy them. But if they have made the clothes bigger and don’t buy, it’s not ethical,” wrote one user on Weibo.

“It’s a bad trend created by internet celebrities,” another user commented.

Uniqlo staff in Chengdu, in the southwestern Sichuan province, said parents would not appreciate children’s clothing for sale that had been already tried on by teenagers or adults.

“[After hearing this phenomenon], some parents said they felt disgusted and said they would not buy this season’s clothes of Uniqlo for their kids,” she was quoted as saying.

Uniqlo’s China headquarters in Shanghai could not be reached for comment.

 

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