Spielwarenmesse: Mermaiding – a new water sport conquers the costume market

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Mermaiding – a new water sport conquers the costume market

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Many little and not so little girls are familiar with the film versions of the fairy story by Hans Christian Andersen “The little Mermaid” – whether as the Czech film adaptation or Disney’s animated film character Ariel. People have always been filled with wonder at these legendary figures from the sea. More recent TV productions like the Australian series “H2O – Just Add Water” show stories of mythical beings from the undersea world. From marvelling at mermaids, a new market has now emerged for the costume manufacturers.

The new trend sport is called mermaiding. The main target group of the mermaid hype is mainly girls between 9 and 14 years old, although boys and adults too like diving into this world of mythical creatures. But what precisely is mermaiding? The origin of mermaiding is in the USA. People swim with a tail monofin or a whole mermaid costume. As early as 1947, the first show took place in Weeki Wachee Springs Park in Florida. Women in the guise of mermaids performed ballet routines in the underwater theatre. This park with its mermaids is still there today.

More than just a costume

Mermaiding has now arrived in Germany. Depending on which model you buy, a mermaid costume can cost you from around 150 to several thousand euros. Many mermaids design their own fins to make themselves different from other mermaids. The firm Magictail in Waldkirch in Baden-Württemberg goes as far as organizing a designer contest. Magictail itself sells around 20,000 costumes a year – about half of them in Germany. But if you first want to try out how you move in the water as a mermaid, you can attend one of the many courses in mermaid swim schools. In the various workshops you learn the techniques of swimming with a monofin, as the tail fin is called by the experts, and therefore how to master the movements of a mermaid.

At the same time, there’s a surge in mermaiding competitions. The first German Mermaiding Day was held in 2013 in Bad Wiessee, where nearly 400 mermaids took part. At another get-together of mermaids in September 2014, there was a triathlon event and the first “Miss Mermaid Germany 2014” was chosen. The winner’s name is Vada Müller and she will represent the new aquatic sport at various events until her successor is chosen.

Mermaid as a profession

Mermaiding can even earn you good money. The Australian Hannah Fraser is a mermaid by profession. She models for international campaigns, makes commercials and has received awards for her life’s work. Hannah was fascinated by mermaids at the age of only 9, when she made a fin to swim with in her parent’s pool. While still a student, she began to work as a model with, of course, a fin.

The new water sport of mermaiding has captivated both young and old in Europe. This means there’s an interesting opportunity for the trade catering for both costumes and leisure to extend their product ranges to include products for little and not so little mermaids.

 Sources: ZDF, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Magictail, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Meerjungfrauen Schwimmschule

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Spielwarenmesse eG

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