Rise of fun fashion
The past few years saw the rise of clothing, phone cases and even furniture featuring flamingos, cactuses, pineapples, and watermelons, and the popularity of these tropical elements still shows no sign of fading.
These elements feature the colors pink, green and yellow. And "the shapes are as sunnily evocative and as easy to draw as a smiley face", the Guardian noted.
The appeal of flamingos, known for their bright pink feathers and S-shaped necks, is obvious. "Flamingos aren't something you see in everyday life," British stylist Emily Blunden told the Guardian. "By having one graphic on your clothes, you bring a little bit of fantasy."
Flamingos used to have nothing to do with fashion. In the 1950s and 60s, flamingo figures were often seen on the lawns of US suburban homes, and were usually associated with poor taste. But when a social media photo posted by US singer Taylor Swift in 2015 showed her at a party with her fellow guests riding inflatable flamingos in a pool, the pink birds instantly went from kitsch to cool.
Cactuses are also something striking to look at. "A cactus is the juxtaposition of something that is spiky and tough, yet produces flowers that are delicate and pretty," British designer Digby Jackson told Paper magazine.
Surviving in extreme environments, cactuses protect themselves by reacting to changes slowly. This somehow gives this sustainable plant a symbolic meaning. "You have this plant that will not change from the moment you get it till the moment you die," US cactus expert Carlos Morera told the Guardian. "They are a rebellion against modern times, efficiency, production, and results."
Like cactuses, pineapples carry symbolism too. In some parts of the US, if there's a pineapple-shaped knocker on a front door, it means the home's owner is likely to be welcoming and hospitable.
These positive meanings have drawn the attention of the fashion world. Fruit is no longer just food, we can wear it now. Last year, watermelons also became fashion statements when a social media trend introduced a trick of perspective that makes slices of watermelon look like clothes in photos.
And the trend didn't stop online, it moved off people's smartphone screens and into clothes stores. "The ability of social networks to launch, broadcast and instantly reinforce the credibility of a trend has accelerated the old process of style development by an almost incalculable factor," US futurist Ryan Mathews told Bloomberg.