The fairy grunge trend is an aesthetic that has fostered its own online community on social media over the past few years. Thanks to the superpowers of TikTok, this specific style combination has taken wings. With the growing appreciation for throwback grunge online, it only makes sense that the style has found a counterpart in the metaphysical and superhuman. Folklore has it that grunge fairycore originated out of the pandemic, with young fashionistas altering into mystical versions of themselves. As a form of escapism, many wanted to write themselves as the main character from their favorite childhood fairytales. This longing to revisit fairy fantasies from young adolescence has manifested into dressing as grunge fairies, sometimes referred to as fairy goth.
The stylistic tones of grunge fairycore are neutral, earthy colors as well as dark color palettes. Some popular fairy grunge styles are flowy peasant skirts, lace, ripped tights, ribbon, knitted sweaters, leg warmers, and corsets. Some even wear strap-on wings and pointed ears. Marina Blau, a fashion content creator tells Teen Vogue, “We combine earthy tones with dark nature themes, but also distressed and ripped clothes, 90s vintage fashion, and witchy stuff, like crystals and dark magic.”
Annalyse Reuther tells Teen Vogue she personally selects her clothes based on what Alice Cullen wears in the Twilight saga, “More specifically, Alice Cullen became one of the front runners for the fairycore grunge fashion [subsection].”
The grunge fairycore community aligns with many alternative fashion styles from all around the world. Reuther explains, “Fairy grunge is not so different from the Japanese style ‘Mori Girl’, which is where I believe a lot of stylistic elements of fairy grunge have been adapted from.”
The term Mori translates in Japanese as “forest.” Mori girl is known as a style that represents girls who look like they live in a forest. However, Mori girl style is not just reserved for girls, and is worn by boys and gender non-conforming people as well.
Reuther continues, “It’s not a secret that Western fashion trends are several years behind those of the East.” The biggest component that grunge fairycore takes from mori style is layering several articles of clothing to achieve a billowy and soft silhouette.
With fairy grunge taking layering elements from mori style and adding darker alternative grunge ingredients, it allows the wearer to transcend into a fictitious character. That character can be inspired by alternative music, cult classic films, and more.
Content creator, Cloe See tells Teen Vogue, “I do believe that a level of escapism is associated with the style, but the the level depends on the individual wearer.” See cites some of the biggest inspirations in grunge fairycore from the ’90s and early aughts: Nirvana, 10 Things I Hate About You, Winx Club, and most notably Twilight (which now has its own “core” style).
Influencer Bethany Cross references the band Soundgarden as well as “inspiration from Kurt Cobain, whilst obsessing over fairy wings and princesses.” There is an endless amount of cultural references that the style can encompass. This creates a wide range of the kinds of grunge fairies that can exist.