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Fashion Hoax Fools People Worldwide

TOKYO - 22 Feb 2003 09:33AM GMT +9

Thousands of people worldwide are being fooled by a clever fashion hoax which plays on people's secret desires.

The e-mail hoax carries just two sentences: "What you see below are not see-thru skirts. They are actually prints on the skirts to make it look as if the panties are visible and the current rage in Japan."

If these sentences don't fire the imagination, the attached photos will. Six small photos show clothed women in everyday situations: reading a book in a book store, riding an elevator, announcing something in a microphone during an event. All of the photos are shot from the back and show the women's panties as if you can see right through their skirts and dresses.

Dozens of people have written Japan-based journalist and street fashion photographer Kjeld Duits to help them find the producer of these clothes. "A lot of people want to import these clothes," explains a bemused Duits, "without realizing that these kind of doctored images are actually quite common in Japan's cheaper porn magazines. Perhaps it plays to the image of the Japanese that many Westerners have as sensual and free of restrictions when it comes to sex. You see this in all fantasies about Japanese women as long ago as Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly. Whoever thought of this hoax was very clever."

Not everyone is bemused after hearing that the clothes they would like to import only exist in a computer's program. "What a crazy crazy world," wrote a surprised businessman in Germany. An adventurous young woman in the States gave a different reply: "I was actually kind of disappointed the skirts weren't true... I was looking forward to wearing it to work and giving Human Resources, our fashion police, a run for their money!"
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