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All the rage

The Turkish teen topping the charts in Germany

What the world is watching, wearing and listening to

What the world is watching, wearing and listening to

February/March 2020

What Germans are listening to
Turkish immigrants who arrived in Germany in the 1960s were often called gastarbeiter – guest workers – a term that implied their stay would be limited. Though Germans of Turkish background are now the country’s largest minority group, many still don’t feel accepted. Enter Mero, a 19-year-old German-Turkish rapper who has recently topped the charts in Germany. Born in the city of Rüsselsheim, he is inspired by his upbringing and often refers to “428”, the last three digits of the city’s postcode. But his lyrics shift rapidly from Turkish phrases to German sentences, and from life in Rüsselsheim to Turkish culture. Mero’s German-Turkish fans thank him for representing their shared experience, and others love his music too. The message seems clear: Turkey is his heritage but Germany is home.

 

What your Dad won’t be wearing
Low fashion ascending to the catwalk isn’t unheard of (see velour tracksuits) but rarely has couture come from such humble stock as Crocs. The rubbery clogs favoured by Dads have become the focus of numerous “collabs” with high-fashion brands and celebrities. In 2018 Balenciaga sold out of their $845 pink, ten-inch platform Crocs before they were officially released. Recently Ruby Rose, a model, and Post Malone, a rapper, have launched their own versions. Crocs crowed that Malone’s design (his fourth to date) would “make waves around the planet”. Garden centres seem a more likely realm of influence. But between pricey Crocs and the resurgence of Birkenstocks, practical footwear is in vogue. The only things more sensible than the shoes are their canny investors: Crocs stocks have tripled in value in the past two years.

How Chinese people are dating
Many young Chinese women who put their careers ahead of seeking relationships or having a family still crave companionship. Enter the “virtual boyfriend”, a real man who provides remote intimacy. They can be hired for anything from a few flirty texts to daily phone calls. Advertisements appear on e-commerce websites such as Taobao and messaging apps like WeChat, at a starting price of just a few yuan (less than $1). The service is not so much phone-sex as therapy: stressed-out professionals say they value virtual boyfriends for lending a sympathetic ear.

How Parisians are sightseeing
Did you know that the Cancan dance started as a saucy rejection of hypocritical gender standards? This is the kind of fact you can learn on popular walking tours in the French capital staged by an activist group called Feminists of Paris. Roads, museums, signs and street art are a springboard for discussions on inclusivity. Simone de Beauvoir wrote her seminal text “The Second Sex” in Paris in 1949, and many think France launched post-war feminist theory. Yet feminism remains a polarising topic in the country. The tour, says Julie Marangé, its co-founder, aims to “reconquer Paris from a viewpoint of gender equality”.

How millennials are predicting 
Millennials keen to understand their sun signs and birth charts may think their stars have aligned: a spate of new “astro-apps” offer a meme-friendly version of an ancient practice. Co-Star, which boasts over 5m users and is powered by NASA data, is astrology for the social-media age. The app is known for its sassy daily notifications that encourage users to “try not to talk shit today” or “go for a run, quit cigarettes, whatever”. A competitor to Co-Star, called Sanctuary, links users up with an astrologist for live consultations. With alternative forms of spirituality in ascendance, astro-apps are finding followers among young people who are looking to make sense of uncertain times.

What Indians are watching 
In parts of Indian society dating culture is moving from an offline market of arranged marriages to people meeting their match online. This is the subject of “Yours Cupidly”, a popular new YouTube series developed by an Indian production company in collaboration with OkCupid, a dating app. The show’s finale includes more twists than your average soap opera. Tinder, a competitor to OkCupid, has worked with BuzzFeed Video on its own YouTube show for an Indian audience. The companies hope such shows will help normalise casual dating in India: they’re still hoping single Indians will swipe right.