I still remember when the shell trend first piqued my interest. Back in May of last year, my colleague Lauren (whom I sit directly next to) wrote about how shell jewelry was the bubbling trend about to break. I paid no mind at the time—even though, of course, she was right—because shells weren’t quite speaking to me yet. I simply didn’t have that need-to-own feeling like I do about a lot of other fashion items on my radar. That was, of course, until they really started to appear all over my Instagram feed shortly thereafter. The trend (still in jewelry form) hit its stride right around August—just as Lauren had predicted.
At that point, if an influencer didn’t have a shell on their Instagram feed, they couldn’t really call themselves an influencer. After all—even I had one—a Wald Berlin necklace that seems to only increase in relevancy as the months pass. Even then, however, the brands designing them and people wearing (and talking about) shells were restricted to our little fashion industry bubble, with occasional exceptions here and there. We thought the trend blew up, but we had no idea.
Which brings us to today. As we approach the spring season, and spring fashion has finally gotten into full swing—with collections almost done hitting in stores—I pose the question: Have we reached peak shell? If this sounds a little out of left field, let me explain.
The souvenir-inspired trend has gone well beyond a niche jewelry adornment loved by influencers and fashion insiders to a full-blown mega-craze. They don’t just appear on jewelry anymore but have now expanded to bags, shoes, hair accessories, clothing, and more. It’s not just under-the-radar indie brands selling them; it’s everyone from Altuzarra and Alexander McQueen to Zara and Mango. The trend includes real-life shells, shell prints, and shell embroidery.
Where I’m going with all of this is if you’re thinking of hopping on the bandwagon, the time is now. To see some shell pieces I’m loving right now (all 27 of them), just keep scrolling.