Cute or body shaming? Fitting into UNIQLO children’s wear new fashion trend
Published: Mar 03, 2021 05:43 PM

Adult tries on UNIQLO's children's shirt. Photo: Screenshot of photo from Red Little Book on Weibo

Adult tries on UNIQLO's children's shirt. Photo: Screenshot of photo from Red Little Book on Weibo

The "young girls" section of Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO has recently become particularly voguish in China, as young women have been trying to squeeze into these garments, not only because of their cute designs and good prices, but also to appear cute and skinny. 

Online posts with labels such as "petite girl try: UNIQLO children" and "sweet spicy girl-UNIQLO children's clothing" have become hot hits on social media platforms like Little Red Book, a popular Chinese lifestyle-sharing application, and Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform. 

While there are women who have turned to children's wear for practical reasons as the "extra small" of adult clothing may still be too loose for them, the majority of the posts include photos of mostly young women who took on a challenge to fit into the small clothing with self-depreciating comments such as "I'm no longer a girl with a piggy body."

There are also others who are experimenting with a similar challenge related to the fashion trend called "BM style," which stands for Brandy Melville, a popular but controversial women's clothing shop that seems to have the least tolerance for people who do not have slim figures as its "one-size-fits-most" clothing actually mainly fits women who wear XS and S clothing. 

"I'm a big fan of UNIQLO's girl's shirts and skirts. Actually I've tried some other fashion brands' children's wares. I like the patterns and colors the most, as clothing for young girls makes adults look cute and mischievous with all the cartoon figures and colors like sky blue, cream and peach pink," said 24-yearold blogger "Little Moon."

"And because it is small, it is tight on your body and shows your curves. That is a little bit sexy," she added, explaining why people call the clothing "sweet and spicy." 

This cute-oriented fashion pursuit quickly became the target of criticism following an incident in which netizens on Sina Weibo began sharing pictures of brutally stretched out UNIQLO children's shirts with lipstick and foundation stains.

Some netizens have accused these women of "lacking social ethics," while a considerable number of others have expressed that they feel offended by the movement, suggesting that it can increase body shaming, and may encourage discrimination toward women's figures. 

"I'm definitely a chubby girl, and I feel powerless and hate myself a little bit every time I see people who can fit into an A-shape mini skirt… Like there is nowhere to hide if I'm not wearing my hoodie," a 17-year-old girl in Chengdu who preferred to be anonymous told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"I hate the BM style. I find it vulgar and disrespectful to women in that a piece of clothing seems to be able to control whether or not a woman feels good about herself and denies the fact that women can actually feel confident by getting rid of the bullshit ideas of being thin, young and perfect," Sophie Yang, a 27-year-old Chinese woman who lives in Paris, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Some netizens have discovered that there are UNIQLO shops that have started to stop adults from trying their children's pieces, while some branches seem more tolerant of the issue.

"We've heard this news, but we do not stop people from trying on children's clothing at our store, and will give them a face mask when they try clothing on to prevent unwanted stains," an employee at a UNIQLO store in Beijing's Chaoyang district told the Global Times on Wednesday.