Teenagers social media in China have been hijacking Ikea locker rooms so they can take pictures posing as American high school students.
In a new internet fad, Chinese influencers have been dressing like American high school students and posing in front of IKEA storage lockers in China. The trend, locally known as Meigaofeng, romanticizes a stereotypical American private school uniform, with girls wearing pleated skirts, ties over white collared shirts, loafers, and blazers. Photos shared on the social media site look like scenes from popular movies and television shows like Clueless, Mean Girls, Gossip Girl, and The Breakfast Club.
According to Vice, the participating influencers seem like they’re trying to live out these popular American high school moments of rebellion and first love. The text on their IKEA photo shoots read like a line from an after-school special. One influencer known as “Eat a bite” wrote a line of imagined dialogue in her caption that says, “Hey, it’s you! Don’t leave after school!” People are also using “American” props like bottles of Coca-Cola.
In every photo, the influencers are all interacting with the IKEA lockers. Some are pictured leaning on the open door, while others pretend to be taking something out as they smile for the camera. One young lady is even seen sitting inside a locker. Under the tag for the strange trend, someone with the username Kaylee shared a picture of herself in an American yearbook, posed against the typical blue background. She is wearing a black dress for in the image.
Eventually, the influencers taking photos became so disruptive that IKEA allegedly banned all forms of photography in parts of its premises. Addressing the trend on social media, tech analyst Rui Ma said, “So weird. Chinese influencers recently got into taking photos by IKEA storage lockers and pretending that they were in the halls of an American high school. It got so disruptive IKEA just banned the practice. Very obnoxious. Also, what high school do they have in mind?!”
This isn’t the first time Chinese influencers on have flooded a chain store like IKEA for its similarity to the American lifestyle. Little Red Book users previously took photos in front of Shanghai’s Costco store pretending to be in Los Angeles. For these outfits, people dressed in cropped t-shirts and baseball caps. They also 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 ambiance” by followers because the influencer in stuck a fake Washington state license plate on her car, the Global Times reports.
Interestingly, Chinese influencers seem to be most taken by the quotidian aspects of American culture, from attending high school to shopping. But their glamorization of the lifestyle feels very far away from reality. Instead, the images capture each influencer looking like they are the center of their very own American movie. Whether or not IKEA China has officially banned influencers from staging photo shoots in their stores, locals believe the rule should be enforced. “It’s annoying,” complained one shopper. “The last time I went to IKEA, I wanted to see the furniture exhibits, but a group of teenagers was taking photos, so I couldn’t get a good look.”