After many years of admiring photos from afar, I finally got myself to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The attire of choice is, of course, sea-worthy chic. The tradition of the Mermaid Parade was born from the artist's community of this area of New York City. Fine artists, burlesque performers, circus folk and unique souls kept this parade going. I love the sheer diversity of the crowd. There are, of course, sexy, scantily clad ladies that the photographers fight themselves to shoot. There are all groups, ages, body types, entire families with children and dogs. I even saw a chicken in cosplay.
You'll find tons and tons of glitter and seashells on mermaid outfits. Some people just opt for body makeup. Parasols to block the midday summer sun was the most popular accessory. Like other alternative fashion trends, mermaid style has evolving trends. There were Goth mermaids, mermaids that incorporated pop culture, like the Star Wars, "Fish" Awakens group. There were superheroines Bat-mermaid and Wonder Woman mermaid.
For the gentlemen, sea creatures were popular. I loved the Steampunk vintage diver costume (with a strategically placed spigot!). Sexy pirates, sea captains, Triton and even a Popeye costume walked the parade.
My own outfit, I put together a pink skirt, embroidered tulle (fishnet) topper and I embroidered a bra top with seashells, jewels, and taffeta petals.
My DIY mermaid crown. I twisted a bunch of pipe cleaners into a coral fan shape (you can just wrap them around each other into any organic pattern). I used a headband as a base. The pipe cleaners are very easy to use (just a caveat, the sparkly ones tend to leave sparkly bits on the floor). Start twisting a few around the headband at first, creating branches that veer off at different sides, doubling up with other pipe cleaners around itself.
Then I glue gunned shells and jewels on top, using the pipe cleaners as a support frame. I originally wanted to use pearls, but the flat back jewels were easier to glue. That's it! A glue gun just makes everything quick and stable. Regular glue works too, but it just takes longer.
I hope you enjoyed the Coney Island Mermaid Parade peep show!
All photos by Mariana Leung and Adam Weinstein