Not every stylish youngster is a 'freaken' or freaker but there is no way you miss getting sight of one on the streets of Kerala. We recognize freaken, a misspelling of freaking, looking at their long-grown hair, flashy footwear, ripped and trendy costumes and accessorised body-parts. They address one another as 'bro,' 'macha,' 'buddy' and 'chunk.' On social platforms, they brand themselves by some exclusive titles like 'Mwonjan,' 'Smokie' and 'Popzeinz.' But how do you recognize a freaken? What is the latest wave in Kerala's freak fashion circle? Onmanorama decodes...
Who is a freaken?
According to Arjun, one of the key founders of 'All Kerala Hairies Association', aka 'Mudiyanmaar,' a freaken is someone who invests both on his looks and his attitude. “An average freaken spends around Rs 1,600 to stylise and maintain his hair alone. He spends equally on his costume and accessories. Not every salon offers freak styling services. In a nutshell, a freaker is not a carefree lad as people generally think – but someone who is excessively conscious about his appearance and attitude,” he said.
Wristbands passe, tattoos are in
There was a time when freakens, as they are popularly known, loaded their wrists and arms with different types and colour combinations of bands. Higher the number of bands, flashier the look, they said. As time passed, the trend of wristbands faded and tattoos took over the scene. Graphical and caricature tattoos, printed on the most odd body-part is the latest fad. A half-burnt butterfly on your hint-arm, a calligraphic lion on your biceps and a cartooned city-space on your calf would look flamboyant with apt costuming.
Pierced nose and sharp barbells
Piercing has always been the favourite body art of new-gen dappers. It started with a conventional ear-stud, and later spread to upper ear, eyebrow, lips and even nose. Believe it or not, pierced nose is the new rage among Kochi's freaks. “A single black stone, protruding sharp barbells, one-sided steel curves and rings constitute the nose-pin vogue. Some pierce both sides of the nose while others hang a ring below the nasal-bridge,” explained Swaroop, a member of 'Kochin Freakers,' a popular fashion community.
Long mane and beaded dread-locks
Hair is always the best crown. Not everyone can flaunt the 'hairie-fairy' look unless they have lustrous locks. Lengthy hair became the face of freak fashion when the trend was first introduced in the state. Come whatever trends, long hair is still in vogue. Partly grown hair tangled in dreadlocks is the latest hairstyle in vogue. Freakers accessorise their hair using bells, beads, wool and strings. Some straighten the crown portion, let the mid-head stay messy and grow a long, dread-locked mane.
“Beads roughen your hair. We fix them whenever necessary and later remove. Same with bells,” said Arjun. Hairies, aka mudiyanmaar, maintain their hair by doing routine protein therapies and by observing strict, protein-rich diet. They also follow physical exercises and fitness checks to ensure healthy hair-growth.
Beard and its various patterns rule the freak fashion realm of late. Free long-grown beard is still the classic style while van-dyke, circle-trimmed and flat-chopped beards set new trends. A thick beard and bowler hat matched with formal attire is the new craze of Kerala freakens.
Freestyle-tees, Yeezee shoes and joggers
When it comes to couture, the freak youngsters of Kerala have long ditched their master-stroke ripped denim-skinny t-shirt combo. Semi-casuals are the new fashion. They love to match their over-sized, freestyle t-shirts with jogger trousers. They embellish their looks with 'Yeezy shoes,' known the best for their classic silhouette.