These Hello Kitty braces may not actually be straightening anyone’s teeth. (Photo: We Heart It)
Like many other Gen Y-ers who grew up in America, I wore braces during middle school, and to this day I still have awkward pictures of myself flashing a mouthful of metal. In my opinion, that painful dental experience is best left to the annals of yearbook history, so I was shocked to learn that Asian teens from countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are now choosing to wear fake braces as a fashion accessory. Say what?
As the New York Daily News reveals, the trend has been picking up steam over the past few years. In cities like Bangkok, genuine orthodontic braces cost around $1200, which is an unaffordable expense for all but the wealthiest families. But in contrast, “fashion” braces only cost approximately $100, and teens can buy DIY kits online or at flea markets to install themselves. Designs range from flowers to Mickey Mouse, and the braces are viewed as an emblem of cool.
While it’s understandable that unexpected items become trendy (hello, ugly christmas sweaters), there are many potential downsides to wearing fake braces. Aside from the fact that they don’t actually straighten your teeth, Vice UK reports that the Consumer Protection Agency of Thailand has warned that the wires in some fake braces contain lead. On top of that, the Thai government recently made it illegal to sell, import, or produce fake braces after they were linked to the deaths of two teens. In other countries like Indonesia, however, they remain unregulated, and reports are surfacing that even adults have started to wear them.
What do you think of this new trend?
Another slightly less surprising trend? Champagne lip color—here’s how to wear it.