It's hard to say why some trends stay around as long as they do, or why they become popular at all. Fashion fads are often hard to predict, especially within the younger generation. Teens tend to grab onto a particular trend and milk it for all its worth, despite what it may cost or how ridiculous they may think it looks five years from now. We've all done it--the fashions and hair of the '80s and '90s were notably atrocious, for the most part--and it doesn't seem to be something that's going to go away.
Often, a trend will begin with a couple of popular people and fan out from there. Over the past few years, we've seen Uggs, skinny jeans, and scarves take hold of the trendwatch until they became mainstream, and while some still eschew the style in favor of their own, they've become such a normal part of fashion that no one looks twice when they see it on the street. Some teens across Thailand and Indonesia, however, are taking the latest fad to the extreme: fake braces.
Yes, those metal things which tormented many an '80s teen with headgear and caused emotional scarring from the taunts of "Metalmouth!" thrown at them in school are now desirable to some, and are even a status symbol. For this reason, teens are buying them on the black market for around $100 a set and some are even putting them on themselves, which is dangerous. Authorities say they can attribute at least two teen deaths to the faux braces and warn against their use as pieces can come loose and lodge in the throat.
Vendors caught selling the mouth gear are now eligible for a punishment of up to six months in prison and/or a $1300 fine in Thailand, as government officials have begun cracking down on the fad.