The next time you are up close with a young, female Shanghainese spend just a little bit longer staring into her eyes – despite the romance of the situation and the other body language cues just don’t expect her irises to expand. What you are looking for is subtle or otherwise variations in colour and texture through the use of coloured contact lenses.
Colourful contacts are nothing new for example this english language site provides a range of popular models, including my personal favourite the big eyes natural ring. But the density of stalls here in Shanghai’s optical market selling coloured contacts, the extensive palette of options on offer suggest its plays a greater role in forming (a temporary) identity for their (mostly) young, female clients than in other cultures.
Thoughts for today on this humid Shanghai morning: the extent to which different sub/cultures embrace body modifications (liposuction/plastic surgery/tattoos/piercings/genital mutilation, hair colour/…); the (financial/time/social/…) cost of buying into that modification; and over the longer term how this will prime consumer groups into accepting richer, more bionically enhanced versions of those modifications. In ~30 years time, the Shanghai optical markets will be selling eye-mods, but it won’t just be colour that is on offer.
Which company will offer the first mainstream product where consumers willingly mutilate their body in order to reap the benefits of modification? Start at tattoos and work your way inwards…
Looking to tweak your own genetic code? Take the South East exist from Shahghai Station, play Frogger with the traffic, walk through the largest entrance and climb to the third and fourth floors of the optical market.