“Coconut Girl” is on TikTok’s summer fashion dashboard
Every summer, young people are looking for a new aesthetic to define their style, and this year it’s the “Coconut Girl”. The fashion trend originated on TikTok and is primarily defined by the print of hibiscus flowers, a pattern associated with Hawaiian shirts (also known as Aloha shirts) that originated as early as the 1920s in Hawaii, with surf-inspired graphics, puka cups, crochet details, halter top and colorful platform sandals.
“The Coconut Girl trend is the product of the post-COVID dream and optimism of summer youth. After all, who doesn’t want to be the coconut girl smiling for photos on a tropical vacation? Says Carrera Kurnik, director of culture and consumer information at Fashion Snoops. “Coconut Girl’s aesthetic borrows heavily from Y2K nostalgia and is an alluring blend of maximalist pastels and youthful stickiness. Compared to more dystopian aesthetics like punk, e-girl, goth, and grunge fairy, Coconut Girl is carefree, naive, and upbeat. “With this, wearers can step into a youthful state of mind and get a much needed break from an otherwise harsh reality.
Saisangeeth Daswani, Consulting Manager – Fashion, Beauty and APAC at Stylus, a trend intelligence company, says Coconut Girl is an evolution and amalgamation of Y2K fashion and VSCO Girl. For sartorial inspiration, shoppers will delve into retro surf brands like Roxy and Billabong, as well as the fashion catalog that has become the Delia * s brand. To take it a step further, coastal shows and movies from the late 90s and early 2000s, such as Zoey 101 (Southern California), Blue green (Florida), CO (Orange County), and Blue crush (Oahu), can also provide styling ideas for the beach trend.
Then there’s Gen Z’s obsession with TikTok, which has become a new go-to source for discovering fashion and style outside of Instagram and Pinterest. It’s no wonder the Coconut Girl look took off in the first place: “The reason TikTok has such power over the current trend cycle is the platform’s ability to create captivating aesthetic moodboards,” Kurnik says, adding that the Coconut Girl hashtag features slideshow videos from images to tropical dream songs, with some users even providing their own aesthetic analysis via voiceover. “It’s the kind of creative functionality and common talk that you just can’t get from Instagram and Facebook.” TikTok, she thinks, is like the scrapbook collages of magazine cutouts and moodboards we made as a teenager, updated for the digital age.
There’s also the fact that the Coconut Girl trend highlights a cultural moment when people dream of a carefree summer away from the turmoil of our time. In response to that, says Daswani, fashion looks cheerful and upbeat at the moment. “As some markets hopefully emerge from the pandemic, there is a growing need for products and aesthetics that promote hope and positivity.” This, she says, is one of the reasons we’ve seen such an explosion of color on the slopes recently. For example, Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2022 collection was an explosion of rainbow hues in playful, voluminous silhouettes, while Bottega Veneta’s Spring 2021 runway showcased pop saturated with teal and kelly green.
There is also a dream vacation vibe at Coconut Girl. “It takes inspiration from the beaches and that disposable camera finish,” says Kurnik. “It’s about halter tops and miniskirts, pastel colors, glitter tattoos, floral prints and Claire-inspired accessories. It is both escape and joy. “
As for the continuation of this trend and beyond, Daswani expects Gen Z to continue to seek inspiration in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. “While the aesthetic changes, the overall feel [of every trend] is around optimism, self-expression, ease and comfort. Kurnik believes, like so many TikTok trends in the current chain speed fashion cycle, that the Coconut Girl will last a few months before people get sick of it and move on to the next flashy, new aesthetic. Plus, summer only lasts so long.