Ocean-Inspired Fashion Is the Hottest Trend of Summer 2021

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emili sindlev ocean inspired fashion
Photo: Courtesy of @emilisindlev

A massive wave (pun intended) of ocean-inspired clothing and accessories has come crashing in on the glitzy shores of fashion. While ocean-inspired fashion is hardly new, it does feel like a lifetime ago that it last frolicked in the spotlight. Arriving as a recycle of 90s trends, it dominated the accessories world for a few seasons starting in 2018, and then disappeared from shelves.

After a brief hiatus in 2020, ocean-inspired fashion is back en vogue, and the trend is bigger than ever before. The shell jewelry trend has evolved to include motifs inspired by underwater life. Yet, the trend is not only limited to jewelry and accessories; the tide has also swept over clothing this time around. 

ocean-inspired fashion
Photo: Courtesy of @chiaraferragni

Fashion inspired by aquatic creatures is so popular that Lyst has dubbed the trend “mermaidcore.” Lyst reported a 51% increase in the collective searches of “mermaid,” “starfish,” and “seashell” since the advent of spring 2021. There was also a 23% increase in the searches for “starfish earrings” around the same period. So, how did ocean-inspired fashion make a sudden huge comeback? Well, there are several factors influencing the trend, and Versace, for one, has a lot to do with it. 

For Versace’s Spring/Summer 2021 show, Donatella Versace took inspiration from Gianni Versace‘s ‘Trésor de la Mer’ Spring/Summer 1992 collection. In a show that was staged sans audience with a set resembling the imagined ruins of Atlantis, Donatella unveiled a fresh iteration of the Versace ‘Trésor de la Mer’ collection. The collection, decorated with colorful marine creatures crawling over it, has become a huge hit among the fashion crowd.

ocean-inspired fashion
Photo: Courtesy of @nicolacoughlan

Versace isn’t the only factor influencing the trend. As the world came to an abrupt standstill in 2020, designers leaned on escapist themes such as nostalgia and travel for their Spring/Summer 2021 collections. That explains the sudden resurrection of ocean-inspired fashion. As the travel-starved global population retook flight, the holiday-friendly trend quickly became a go-to. For those of us still grounded, the ocean-inspired fashion trend serves as a means of escapism.

Ocean-inspired fashion includes dresses, tops, shirts, trousers, swimwear, and accessories embossed with marine flora and fauna. Further, jewelry featuring seashells, starfish, corals, pearls, and other underwater motifs are amongst the most covetable accessories of the season.

Ready to invest in the trend? Whether it’s beachwear, casual wear, jewelry, or accessories, whatever you’re after, we’ve got you covered. Shop the coolest ocean-inspired fashion pieces below.


All products featured on Savoir Flair are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn affiliate commissions.


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