Zentai (from the Japanese ゼンタイ) is a term for skin-tight garments that cover the entire body. The word is a portmanteau of zenshin taitsu (全身タイツ) ("full-body tights"). Zentai is most commonly made using nylon/spandex blends, but other materials such as cotton and wool are used as well.
There are several variations based on the Zentai suit including mummy bag (similar to a sleepsack) and hybrid suits consisting of either a single leg and arms, or separate legs and no arms.
Some companies have tried to create mainstream brands of the suits, by dropping the traditional name; in particular, examples include RootSuit or Superfan Suit in the United States and Bodysocks or Second Skins by Smiffy's and Morphsuits in the United Kingdom and Jyhmiskin in Finland. Morphsuits has achieved relative commercial success internationally. Between January and late-October 2010, the company shipped 10,000 alone to Canada. Morphsuits brand has actively tried to disassociate themselves from the existing zentai community, occasionally being listed as the product's co-inventor. Superfan Suits acknowledges that the outfits have existed previously in interviews. Their term has become somewhat generic in the process; one New Zealand-based newspaper refers to competing brand, Jaskins, as a "one of the main online morphsuit brands." Jaskins company founder Josh Gaskin says their origins are unclear, pegging the first usage with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
This mainstream push has made them relatively common apparel at major sporting events, and created internationally recognized personalities out of The Green Men, two fans of the Vancouver Canucks NHL team. Some sports leagues, such as Major League Baseball, ban the use of the costume hoods. Various professional street dance/hip hop dance groups use the outfits, such as The Body Poets in the United States, and Remix Monkeys in the United Kingdom.
Other applications of the bodysuits have included music videos (Black Eyed Peas' song "Boom Boom Pow", including the live performance at the Super Bowl), breast cancer awareness, fashion modeling on an episode of America's Next Top Model, social anxiety workshops, a participant in public art project "One & Other", and social experiments. A British theme park offered free admission for those in zentai in the colours of their park logo.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zentai.|
- The Zentai Project Site dedicated to people wearing zentai in public