Images: Little Red Book
IKEA’s blue locker rooms are being used not to store bags, but to pose in front of as a pseudo-American high school. One of the biggest trends right now on the Chinese version of Instagram, Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu), is America core. The trend is called “Meigaofeng,” which means "American high school fashion," more or less. The trend romanticizes a stereotypical American private school uniform, with influencers wearing pleated skirts, ties over white collared shirts, loafers, blazers, and looking straight out of something like Gossip Girl or Clueless.
The influencers have chosen IKEA’s locker rooms because they mimic what an American high school would look like and famous scenes from any number of movies and TV shows, including Clueless, Mean Girls, and The Breakfast Club.In the influencers’ captions on their IKEA photoshoots, it seems that they are trying to live out these American high school moments of rebellion and first loves. One influencer going by the username “Eat a bite” wrote a line of imagined dialogue in her caption that says, “Hey, it's you! Don't leave after school!”
These influencers are also using “American” props—“Eat a bite” holds a Coca Cola bottle to her head. The influencers are all interacting with the lockers, some leaning on an open locker door, others pretending to be taking something out as they smile for the camera, and even one sitting inside a locker. Under the tag for the trend, someone with the username Kaylee posted a picture of herself in an American yearbook, posed against the typical blue background wearing a black dress. According to tech analyst Rui Ma, the influencers taking photos in IKEA became so disruptive IKEA had to ban the practice. IKEA China did not respond to Motherboard for comment. This isn’t the first time Chinese influencers on Little Red Book have flooded a chain store for its similarity to the American landscape. Influencers were taking photos in front of Shanghai’s Costco store pretending to be in Los Angeles. For these outfits, the influencers wore cropped t-shirts, baseball caps, and posed with Costco carts to mimic a casual West coast errand day. One popular post with over 1,500 likes was heralded as having the “best ambience” by commenters because the influencer in the images stuck a fake Washington state license plate on her car, according to Global Times. Chinese influencers seem to be most taken by the quotidian aspects of American culture, from attending high school to shopping at Costco. Their glamorization of a lifestyle that feels very far away from them results in movielike captures where each influencer looks like they are the center of their very own American film.