It seems like the Internet can't go a day without discovering — or making up? — viral trends from Asia. After news headlines about China's bellybutton challenge and heart-shaped bangs in Korea, people are getting themselves in a tizzy over the latest fad from Taiwan: making leotards out of plastic bags. According to a write-up in the Daily Mail, women in Taiwan are eagerly sporting convenience store bags to make a fashion statement. The news quickly caught the attention of BuzzFeed and Cosmopolitan. While these outlets didn't hesitate to call the phenomenon "crazy" and "weird," none of them provide an explanation of the trend's origin. Call us plastic bag truthers, but we're determined to get to the bottom of this. According to CK101, a Taiwanese gossip portal, two models named Teddy Captain and Belle Xie started the trend when they tried on the bags to see if their entire torsos would fit. The photos were picked up by a popular Facebook discussion group, and it all snowballed from there. A wave of imitators clearly did so with a sense of humor; they joked about this being a great way to save a buck on clothes and help the environment. One Chinese commenter joked that the popularity of the stunt is a reflection of Taiwan's weak economy.
It's important to know that the women who have embraced this fad are "pseudo-models," amateurs who appear at technology expos and promotional events. To accumulate fans on social media, these women often post risqué photos to garner media buzz, and a skimpy, plastic leotard is definitely one way to do it. The point is that the reality behind this so-called trend isn't quite the "social media sensation" some Western outlets were hoping for. Moreover, Taiwanese netizens are crying foul on a photo the Daily Mail chose to illustrate the article. The image shows two plastic bag-clad men sitting on a curb, which actually came from a completely unrelated Korean TV show.