Gen Z is dressing like mermaids to escape reality — ‘It makes me feel alive’
Halle Bailey isn’t the only one making a splash.
The 23-year-old stars in “The Little Mermaid,” out Friday. In the live-action Disney film, she dons the iridescent flippers you’d expect, and at the various premieres for the movie, she’s looked the part in shimmering pastel gowns with flared skirts and intricate details.
Other young trendsetters outside of the entertainment industry are also opting for wet-and-wild looks.
On TikTok, the hashtag #MermaidCore is trending, with over 200 million views.
A recent report via fashion site Nasty Gal also found that Google searches for “mermaid style” have risen 736% worldwide in the past year. On Pinterest, “mermaid core” searches have skyrocketed 614% ahead of the movie.
The aesthetic mixes coastal leisurewear, Y2K glitz and beach bohemian vibes. Shimmering blues, soft seafoam greens and metallic silvers are the primary color palette.
“Mermaidcore is a really fun and fresh trend inspired by oceanic colors and things like shells, pearls and crystals,” Jenny Rojinski, 32, a fashion designer and content creator from Los Angeles, told The Post. “It makes me feel alive.”
As a DIY-design project, Rojinski spent nearly 100 hours creating her own mermaid core look, handcrafting a bralette and sarong belt out of pearls, seashells and fishing wire purchased on Amazon.
She also stitched together a sandy-white skirt and detachable sleeves out of scrapped knit, crochet, eyelet and silk brocade fabrics.
On TikTok, her creations have garnered nearly 700,000 views.
“People love mermaidcore because it’s an escape, it’s dreamy and it makes you feel like you’re in a different world,” said Rojinski.
The coupling of deep sea flamboyance and wearable art dates back to the 1930s, when couturier Jean Patou’s “aquatic-inspired gown” made its debut in Vogue. In recent years, luxe brands such as Versace, Burberry and Blumarine have revitalized the modish look of the mythical sirens.
Manhattan fashion consultant Amanda Sanders agrees with Rojinski about the look being rooted in escapism.
“It’s a break from reality,” she said, likening the mermaid movement to the recent “Cottagecore” and “Barbiecore” waves.
“‘The Little Mermaid’ originally came out [in 1989] as a cartoon, so it’s nostalgic for millennials and Gen Z,“ Sanders added. “It’s a fun, fantasy-fashion trend that lets people express a childlike playfulness through their wardrobe.”
Chazlyn Yvonne, 21, a self-professed “whimsical content creator” on social media, told The Post that submerging herself in mermaidcore mania has unlocked her inner child.
“It’s freeing,” said the tastemaker.
She wore a $160 sea foam green “Siena” dress from Wild Rose & Sparrow — along with pearl earrings and seashell hair accessories — to a special screening of “The Little Mermaid” in Los Angeles Wednesday.
“I wasn’t even that into mermaids as a little girl,” said Yvonne, a 2023 graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. “But this aesthetic — and seeing [Berry], someone who looks like me, playing Ariel, which is something I didn’t see as a kid — is really inspiring.”
And haters who aren’t onboard with the trend can swim away, she said.
“Gen Z loves micro-fashion trends like this,” said Yvonne.
“We’re going to keep doing us.”