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Alicia Hightower/the Gauntlet

The fashion of feces

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Although the threat of an economic crisis is looming in North America, Japan seems to be doing just fine.

According to cbc.ca, sales of adult diapers have doubled over the past decade. This means that the aging population in Japan has the accessible funds to afford to double their use of something they poop on and then throw away.

Since the diapers are in such high demand, but still pretty embarrassing to buy publicly, diaper companies have incorporated fashion into the mix. At a fashion show in Tokyo, Japan, the catwalk was graced by models wearing the new designs overtop of black tights. Some of the models, all volunteers, even stirred the crowd's excitement by shaking their hips when they reached the end of the catwalk. This is awesome. Instead of staying on with the traditional take of adult diapers being embarrassing in every way, the companies have thrown out bashfulness and embraced the prospect for all it's worth. Also, as Japan has one of the world's longest life spans and 20 per cent of the population is over 65, adult diaper wearers are a decently large demographic.

Incorporating fashion into diaper designs is a golden idea. In displaying the catchalls in a flashy, ritzy manner, the appeal is much more than just function. Why be embarrassed by your underwear when it was created by Japan's top designer? Maybe, but hopefully not, wearers will even let the top of their diapers show like a flashy thong. Handbags could eventually match diapers. The options are endless.

Japan has been slowly moving away from tradition for a while. The present generation has left behind the formal words for mother and father (okaasan and otoosan) and instead rely on the more intimate names (haha and chichi). Also, this generation has started to refer to cafes as kafees, instead of the traditional kissaten.

According to one of the leading organizers of the show, Kiyoko Hamada of the Aging Lifestyle Research Center, incorporating fashion not only makes the diapers more popular, it also helps make it easier to learn about them and their use. As the audience was made up of a few hundred people, including care workers and doctors, the show was informative as well as commercial.

"It was great to see so many different types of diapers all in one showing," said Aya Habuka, a nursing home caretaker. "I learned a lot. This is the first time that diapers are being considered as fashion."

Before the models took to the catwalk, actors in the theatre in downtown Tokyo performed skits instructing the audience how to tell when the adult diapers were needed, how to convince those needing them to put them on and how to properly use them. Reported on usatoday.com, one of the skits consisted of an elderly man admitting that the loose-fitting diapers might not work as well at night as they do in the day. The willingness to talk publicly about the use of these diapers is a definite step in the right direction. This fashion show truly demonstrates that more and more embarrassing things are finally being accepted as they should be.

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