Growing up in California I have noticed that there is a distinct beach aesthetic that exists in the reign. Long white sandy beaches, and palm trees boardwalks, can identify the California beach aesthetic. People with blond hair, tanned fit bodies, open-top Range Rover cars, floral light-colored flowy short clothing, and bright pastel-colored bathing suits. California does have infamous beaches and a massive culture around surfing but the aesthetic represents more than just the sports involved. It represents this idyllic environment of an endless “summer” and constant vacation and fun.
The colonization of Hawaii during the 1900s, marginalized Hawaiian culture and exploited surfing as a means of attraction to tourists. The “Culture” and sport of surfing spread to southern California in the 1910s on beaches such as Venise, and Redondo and continued to grow in popularity. In the 1960s, surf and beach culture became popular throughout most of the coast of California solidifying the aesthetic. What increased popularity was the Surf Rock genre with bands such as The Beach Boys as well as popular films such as The Endless Summer.
What represents this aesthetic is the color palette, the ideology, as well as the people involved. The colors are indicative of sunsets, palm trees, and deep blue ocean. Blues, turquoise, and indigo give a calming feel and association to the ocean and water. Tan’s beiges and brown-green had associations with the sands and vegetation on the beaches. Florals, surfboards, and seashells promoted the pastel colors that are extremely prevalent in bathing suits and fashion associated with the culture and aesthetic.
With the culture being prevalent in the 60’s we find 60s design aesthetics merging with the beach aesthetic. You find colorful pastel prints and pattern designs. The line work is usually only a handful of colors, with simplistic designs. In beach aesthetics, we commonly see striped patterns most famously and commonly salmon and white and navy blue and white but generally some forms of corals and whites. Bathing suits, towels Sea shells, and floras in patterns with variations of corals and pastel colors.
Beach aesthetic today still lives in the beach towns of California through the sur culture, the designs and prints of swimsuits, and through 60’s vintage fashion and summer fashion. Through its long history, the beach aesthetic lives for all of us to bring summer and vacation to our lives no matter where we are.