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Photo of the day: Playboy in China is the Least Sexy Thing Ever

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Our photo theme this week is Fashion Frontiers: fabulous looks at the far edges of contemporary Chinese culture.

“Chinese Playboy” — the phrase alone conjures up misguided orientalist visions of models in see-through dragon kimonos. But actually, it’s just a bunch of nonsense like this:

China has a pretty strict “no” policy when it comes to pornography, no matter how softcore it may be. But that didn’t stop Hugh Hefner from trying to break into the untapped market. While Hong Kong did have its own Playboy magazine for a while, it soon pittered to a close, and by the time the brand entered China, it was pretty much just a logo.

Now, the infamous Playboy bunny logo marks everything here, completely drained of its edgy and taboo coolness. Free gift keychains from Taobao promotions, toddlers’ t-shirts, huge stores of belt buckles — no trinket is safe from the easily-replicable might of an iconic brand logo.

But, we bet that somewhere, Hefner’s family is comfortably banking off some of it. So rest in peace Hugh: the baseball hat-wearing grandpas of China have you to thank for their steez.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.