This will just be about some of the aesthetics, fashions, and subcultures I'm into. Since you have to dig a little to find information in English about such things, this will serve as a compilation and summary of some of the things I know, in order to help other people who are interesed in learning more or just curious.
What is "Menhera"? It is primarily a term to connect people who seek mental wellbeing. It originated on 2chan's mental health board as what basically amounts to slang for "mental healther," and has since evolved into "a subculture centered around a certain style of vent art as well as fashion featuring it" (menheratic).
I highly encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about menhera to check out the now defunct blog Menheratic's list of resources. A lot of their information is sourced from menhera.jp, an also now defunct Japanese site all about connecting menhera. There are also a few tumblr posts and blogs dedicated to information and news about Menhera in English. This post by the menhera info archieve has some additional information, and I reccomend checking out their blog as well.
Where do art and fashion fall into this? Art and fashion are simply two forms of self expression. Of course, there are many ways of self expression, ones that aren't art or fashion, but vent art is often tied closely with Menhera since art therapy has generally been encouraged as a healthy way to cope within the subculture. Even cute art is accepted, as "cute people aren't immune to suffering," (menheratic) and a lot of people find that it makes them feel better.
As for fashion, it is a way to literally wear your heart on your sleeve. Menhera fashion only really requires some kind of mental health theme to it, especially with vent art prints. It usually consists of a top with some kind of big vent art print (often oversized and paired with a short bottom), printed legwear or some kind of tights, medical accessories, subtle bondage gear, and comfortable flat shoes (often platforms). Light makeup is also common. Nothing over the top, usually simple everyday makeup with lots of blush under the eyes to accentuate the feeling of being fragile (often called byojaku). Wearing anything gory, triggering, or overly costumey is frowned upon when it comes to Menhera in fashion.
Side note for anyone too lazy to go through the resources, "Menhera" is sometimes used as slang for someone, especially a woman, who is "troublesome," an "attention whore," "cute but psycho," or a "yandere." It is important to remember that people like this are people, people who might also seek mental wellbeing, and it is dangerous to gatekeep in what way or how much someone is suffering to consider their problems as real problems. As such, "menhera" should not be used as a way to turn people's issues into a word for an archetype of people you don't like or find toxic. However, the term "menhera kei" (menhera-type) is more strongly associated with the negative steriotype, so it is best to avoid adding "kei" after menhera. Mental health is a broad category, so it's not fair to apply a negative steriotype to anyone who seeks mental wellbeing.
Of course, it's also important to note that Menhera is inherently pro-recovery. There is not one single path to recovery and recovery doesn't look the same for everyone, but doing things that might trigger others (like posting real images of self harm) opposes the entire point. Usually people who do this and associate it with Menhera are just misinformed.
This is still unfinished :)
This will be a tutorial for buying things from Taobao, since it's difficult to do so if you don't live in mainland China.
Taobao, in simple terms, is like Chinese Amazon. I should mention, if you are not in mainland China it may be difficult to use Taobao. Taobao is all in Chinese and often blocks you by asking you to sign in. Just back out or close out of that or inspect element it away if you don't have a way to sign in. I don't think it's worth it to try to figure out how to sign in, I've tried with the Taobao app and it always marks my account as suspicious, even if I use a VPN and it forces me to verify that I'm a real person by... asking me to show my mainland China citizen ID. In other words, Taobao is notoriously hard on foreigners. For that reason, I'll make it easier for you!
The first step is to get familiar with Taobao. It's all in Chinese so if you don't know anything, it's difficult to navigate. You can translate everything if you have a translator plugin or Google Chrome, but tbh you can get by without needing to read anything. Side note as well, Taobao has a worldwide version that might show less results someimes, you can change it if you want, but you don't have to. Taobao World will try to kick you out less if you'r a foreigner.
Now, how to find stuff you like. To search on Taobao, you should use search terms in Chinese. You can use google translate or ask someone who knows Chinese if you don't know Chinese yourself. Sometimes when you try to search for things, it will just redirect you to the homepage or ask you to log in. To bypass this, I just search on Google "Taobao [chinese search term]." I've also compiled a list of shops I've used before, so hopefully that makes it a lot easier for you to find things you like! If clicking on something redirects you to the Taobao homepage, you can right click and copy the link and paste it into the proxy service. By the way, shops on Taobao (not taobao world) will not show you every item right of the bat on the homepage. Find where it says "更多>" (More>) and click that.
The same store in Taobao World (left) and regular Taobao (right) with where to click to see more items circled. Open the image in a new tab to see it better.
To buy off Taobao as a foreigner, you should use a proxy service. CSSbuy is the one I use, but there are a lot of them out there. I will explain the process for anyone who has never used a proxy service. Just grab the link of Taobao products you like and plug them into the proxy service's search bar, from there you can add them to your cart and check everything out like any normal online shop. After buying everything you want, an agent will order everything for you on Taobao and send everything to the proxy's warehouse. Once everything is in your warehouse, you can order everything to be packed into a parcel. Be mindful of shipping costs, what can get through customs, and any taxes that may be applied. If it helps, I like to order everything to be vaccuum packed into a bag and sent via China Post SAL. I'm in Texas and everything usually arrives within 2 weeks.
I hope this helps! Usually if you have any problems you can just contact the proxy service's agents and they will help. Be mindful that not all of them speak English very well, so try to be clear when communicating to them, and be respectful.
Interested in where I get my clothes? Here's a shoplist!
under construction :3