Staying on Trend: The Realistic Fish-Flop Thai Market Craze

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There’s Something Fishy About This: The Realistic Fish-Flop Thai Market Craze.

Thailand loves to try new fashion crazes. Some work, some don’t. Beer label vests and t-shirts, elephant pants and “cheap” Ray Ban sunglasses will be around forever. Will this latest craze for fish-flops join the list?

Thai markets make their money from jumping onto the latest crazes. Recently it has been karaoke mics and fidget spinners. Thanks to the nearby mass producers in China, cheap and mass marketable items will be all over the stalls. If you’re after the latest in ‘fashion’ and trend then head down to a local market and see what you can find. Fish-flops are one of the latest and hottest trends, but what are they all about?

The fish-flop is a new backpacker's essential souvenir from Thailand.
The fish-flop is a new backpacker’s essential souvenir from Thailand.

What’s the deal with Fish-Flops?

In Thailand what you wear and how you wear it is a big deal. Fashion is linked to face, dress poorly and it reflects badly on you as a person. Just as in the West, the saying goes “Dress for the job you want not the job you have”. All that said, footwear isn’t ever quite so formal in Asia. Necessity for coolness and ventilation trumps tighter if smarter shoes. Flips flops and sandals reign supreme.

Novelty tends to be more acceptable in Asia than other areas. Trends like Hello Kitty and other anime styles slip into mainstream, and Thailand is no exception. It is perfectly normal to see adults adopting these childlike styles. And it is here we come to fish-flops!

They essentially look like dead fish. Flopped onto the floor with their mouths agape. But instead of gutting and eating these guys, you stick your feet into them. They come in all styles of fish and can be worn by anyone, if it takes your fancy… Their easy-on, easy-off style makes them convenient, especially given the amount of times you have to remove footwear at temples and people’s homes in Thailand.

Fish Food for Thought

These fish-flops are everywhere at the moment. They might not be about to replace business people’s smart footwear but they are popular with many others. From park dwellers to friends out for coffee, stall owners to tuk-tuk drivers, they are certainly a catch.

Many people love the bizarre stylings and the trend for na rak na chunk is growing. The Thai phrase essentially means part cute part creepy. Wander through markets and you’ll get the gist. Gigantic insect pillows, anime masks and oversized glasses/bows are all the rage with fish-flops joining the gang. If you’re after something alternative and unusual, you’re in the right place.

Reeling in a Fish-Flop Bargain

Everything in Thai markets can be bartered for. Test your haggling skills and see what you can get for your money. That said, don’t go in too hard, your dollar is worth is a lot more to them than it is to you. Generally aim for around 20% off the price and it’ll be a great deal for everyone involved.

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