Sunday, December 23, 2012

Helmet Fashion

 Helmet shops in Taipei are almost as common as convenience stores. You'll find them at most large intersections. Their skid lids are priced to sell, and you hope you never need to depend on their thin shells to save your life. The emphasis is on style and fashion. 

This pair is a good example of the helmet designs favored by men and women. Guys often go for helmets decorated in the Japanese anime style, while girls prefer pink with flowers, cartoon characters, or other feminine touches.

For the fashion conscious, a helmet that matches the design of the scooter is a plus. A helmet is attached to a plastic post located just under the seat when the rider is away. They could easily be ripped from the scooter if a thief was so inclined, but helmets are rarely stolen anymore. If you're wondering what happens to helmets stored this way when it rains -- they get wet. And when you put them on, the water runs down your neck. Oh, and they mold, so you can smell a helmet that is left out in the rain, and eventually, unless you wash and disinfect them thoroughly, your hair picks up that same odor.

Visibility might be one reason to wear a red helmet, but more likely he chose this one to match his jacket. Notice the figurine on his keychain: Momoko 'Maruko-chan' Sakura. Here's a snip from her page at Wikipedia:

Momoko "Maruko" Sakura (さくらももこ Sakura Momoko?, まる子 Maruko)
The title character, Maruko (born May 8, 1965) is a nine-year-old third-grade student raised in a relatively poor family of six. She is lazy, disorganized and usually late for school, in strong contrast with her neat, calm and tidy older sister (sixth-grader) who must share her room with her. Maruko, like many kids, tries to avoid homework and chores, and she takes advantage of her doting grandfather and squabbles with her sister. Nevertheless, she is a well-meaning child who tries to do good. She is similar to Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes in that she often uses adult-like language to express her child-like feelings. 

Personalizing one's helmet is always a good thing, and this guitar player (his instrument is in the black bag between his arms) goes for the ironic classic, Spongebob Squarepants and PatrickStar.

Dalmatian spots have been in fashion for years. There's even one shop in Shilin that exclusively carries similarly spotted merchandise. The sparkling helmet is a classic as well. We'll look at jacket styles and fur collars in a later posts.

This young woman was apparently waiting for her boyfriend when I snapped this photo, and he did show up later. As you can see, helmets are just as much a fashion statement as a purse. The Juicy logo is not limited to the ass of sweat pants; it goes just as well on a helmet. If you'd like the same helmet, it's just a click away.