Underground Trends: Seapunk

Where surfer style meets inside jokes and aquamarine everything.
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Ashlyn - Baylor University
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Where surfer style meets inside jokes and aquamarine everything.
Photo Credit: Music video screenshot

Photo Credit: Music video screenshot

Welcome back to another installment of “Underground Trends,” where I tackle trends born, bred, and vanquished on the internet. My last article focused on Cutester. Today, we’re going to be peeking in on another trend spawned by web-happy millennials – Seapunk.

Seapunk started as a trend and meme on both Twitter and Tumblr. Like all shooting stars, it spun to popularity among the underground community, then fell out of favor after celebs and high-fashion lines appropriated its quirky sea-blue cool.

The New York Times described Seapunk style best in their piece, linked above:

Sprouting from the digital petri dish of social networking, seapunk is a whimsical style that mashes together cartoonish aquatic themes, rave culture and a nostalgia for ’90s Internet imagery. The iconography, which exists almost entirely online, includes clip art of dolphins jumping through pyramids, aquamarine-haired mermaids with SpongeBob T-shirts, and psychedelic orbs flying over computer-generated waves.

Seapunk also became a musical genre of its own, which included elements of southern rap, soul, '90s house, and hip-hop. Remixes – or a combination of the above genres – also fared (ha) well. Seapunk crept from music to fashion to mock-up 1990s 3D net art. Flashing colors, geometric shapes, and a general ocean theme characterized Seapunk web graphics.

In its heyday, mid-2012, celebrities such as Rihanna, Azealia Banks, and Nicki Minaj ‘ripped-off’ (as irate community members claimed) the Seapunk movement. Fashion houses including Proenza Schouler and Versace also filtered inspiration from seapunk’s semi-ridiculous, sarcastic, and somewhat punk cues.

To sum it up, Seapunk was the purposefully outdated homage to tacky computer graphics, hologram-printed shirts, '90s surf style, and inside jokes. It shone starry on the internet for a few brief months and disappeared. Since 2012, it’s been flying under the public radar. But if you look closely, you can still see a few nods to Seapunk here and there: from a head of aqua-hued locks to a transparent tote, Seapunk still leaves its mark on mainstream fashion. 

Look #1: Sporty

Outfit inspired by the Seapunk trend

Products: Leggings, Shirt, Jacket, Necklace #1 and #2, RingsShoes

Keep things skater-girl cool with this light cropped top and shredded denim jacket. Add in a punch of Seapunk with these ocean colors-meet-90s-graphic leggings. For those days when you feel like you’ve been running nonstop, these blush pink Vans will keep your feet happy. Top things off with a few layered gold necklaces and a handful of rings.

Look #2: Preppy

Set 2 - redone - Seapunk Prep.png

Products: Skirt, Sweater, Bralette, BootsNecklace

Put some pep (and punk!) in your step with an edgy plaid skirt in mermaid tones. Stay cozy on those chilly fall days in a snuggly white turtleneck and knee-high socks. A pair of sharp ankle booties and a statement necklace later, you’re ready to take on whatever college life throws your way!

Look #3: Girly

Set 3 - redone - Seapunk girly.png

Products: Skirt, TopSandals, Lipstick, Backpack, EarringsCuff

Stay sweet as a summer day in a cool neon maxi skirt. Mermaid points for layering a catchy graphic tee over top and a lipstick that complements your features swimmingly. Mix in strappy white sandals, a silver backpack, and soft silver jewelry for a look that’s polished but still upbeat and fun.

What do you think of Seapunk?   

Would YOU rock the Seapunk look? Have you heard about Seapunk before, or seen similar trends emerge from the glorious world of Tumblr? If you could choose one Seapunk-themed color to dye your hair, what would it be?