Jellyfish: The Unexpected Trendsetters of 2024

Last Updated: June 9, 2024By

Jellyfish: The Unexpected Trendsetters of 2024

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Jellyfish are weird and wonderful, almost like something from another planet. They’re kind of beautiful and a little gross at the same time—like a squishy underwater dessert. They come in all sizes, some tiny, some with tentacles that stretch up to 36 meters long, and they’re made of 95% water. Even though they don’t have brains, hearts, or lungs, we humans find a lot of inspiration in them. This year, jellyfish have floated their way onto the creative scene in a big way, influencing fashion, interior design, and more.

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Jellyfish on the Red Carpet

Hunter Schafer looked stunning, almost like a glowing jellyfish, in a shiny satin Giorgio Armani Privé dress at the Cannes film festival. In Rome, the final dress at the latest Cos show seemed to float down the runway like it was underwater. Lamps resembling Pacific Sea Nettles are popping up everywhere, and Pinterest has named jellyfish a key trend for 2024.

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Jellyfish in Beauty and Hair

TikTok is buzzing with tutorials on jellyfish-inspired makeup. Some are going all out with tentacles drawn under the eyes, while others go for a more subtle look with metallic eyes and shiny lips. The coolest haircut to have is the jellyfish cut—short on top like a bob, with long layers underneath, kind of like a Portuguese Man O’ War.

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The Rise of Jellyfish Fashion

Juli Berwald, an ocean scientist-turned-writer, noticed jellyfish becoming popular back in 2015. She wrote “Spineless: the Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone” and saw her Google alerts for “jellyfish” start bringing up fashion trends and home decor. Lamps, artwork, and shop window displays all started featuring jellyfish themes.

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The Allure of Jellyfish

Despite their dangerous side—some like the box jellyfish can be deadly in minutes—jellyfish are beautiful to look at. Berwald says that improvements in keeping jellyfish in aquariums over the past decade have helped. It turns out they’re much more fragile than they look, requiring round tanks without edges. As more people got the chance to see them up close, they started to appreciate their otherworldly beauty and graceful movements.

Why Jellyfish are Trending

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, a marine conservation ecologist, thinks people are drawn to jellyfish because they’re strange and beautiful. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Their unique silhouette is eye-catching and makes you stop and wonder.

Nature’s Underdogs on the Rise

It’s not just jellyfish having a moment; other odd or ugly creatures and plants are getting their time in the spotlight too. The goblincore trend has brought mushrooms, toads, and fungi into fashion. Jellyfish are like their oceanic cousins.

A Historical Connection

This isn’t the first time jellyfish have been popular. In 1899, jellyfish scientist and artist Ernst Haeckel’s book “Art Forms in Nature” inspired art deco jellyfish designs in the 1920s. Berwald sees a similar trend now as we face climate change and rethink our relationship with nature. We’re starting to appreciate all forms of life on our planet, even those we’ve overlooked, like jellyfish.

Fashion and Nature: A Paradox

Fashion inspired by nature is a bit ironic since the fashion industry is notoriously bad for the environment. Jellyfish, despite their delicate appearance, are surprisingly resilient and have been around for about 500 million years. They can’t swim against currents but move with the flow, a feeling many can relate to in these turbulent times. Who knew jellyfish could be so relatable?

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