TikTok’s Cryptidcore aesthetic is obsessed with finding mythical creatures

'Bigfoot but make it fashion...'

by Rachel Finn
20 June 2021, 4:24pm

TikTok users: @kiwisuns, @aestheticoree, @froggiecrocs

Chances are, whatever you’re into, there’s a community on TikTok for it. From dreamcore to cottagecore to young landlord TikTok (grim!), content for whatever your vibe is probably exists on the app somewhere. 

One growing trend on the app is cryptidcore, an aesthetic that’s based around creatures from urban legend, folklore or conspiracies. It’s obsessed with all-round mystery and takes fashion inspiration from vintage looks from the 1970s - 1990s. It romanticises cryptids - creatures whose existence is unproven or thought to just be urban legend.

Basically, if an aesthetic was like ‘hey, what would I wear to go searching for mysterious creatures in the forest in 1982?’, it might look something like this.

Why is Cryptidcore on TikTok?

At the time of writing, videos tagged with #cryptidcore have been watched almost 15 million times, but TikTok users didn’t create the aesthetic. It’s appeared in some form online (think niche Tumblr and Pinterest boards) and in film and TV shows (think Stranger Things and X Files) for years, but the app has arguably popularised the trend and brought it to a larger audience, thanks to being able to share the trend in short video format. 

Cryptidcore fashion makes use of earthy tones and tends to be casual (you are setting out in search of those elusive cryptids, after all!), but the clothes are really only part of the aesthetic. 

Activities associated with cryptidcore include: reading up about conspiracy theories, investigating local mysteries, going for walks in haunted places and getting into vintage sci-fi or horror films. And going out in search of cryptids, of course.

Although it’s based around mysterious and spooky creatures, the aesthetic isn’t intended to be super scary, but rather more comforting, warm and nostalgic (maybe with an occasional dose of creepiness).

Ok, but what is a ‘cryptid’?

Central to cryptidcore is, obviously, the creatures that inspired it - think bigfoot, mothman (more on him later), aliens, the Loch Ness monster or any other creature generally thought by mainstream science to be, well, not real. 

Urban Dictionary defines a cryptid as “an obscure, undocumented creature typically originating from folklore”. It’s “typically mythological in nature, but not necessarily supernatural, their existence is only recognized as pseudoscience”.

Mothman is one creature featured regularly in the cryptidcore world. The creature is a part of West Virginia folklore which says that a moth-like man with giant red eyes was spotted several times in the city of Point Pleasant between 1966-67. He’s become something of a romantic obsession in the cryptidcore world with the hashtag #sexymothman receiving over 1.5 million views. He’s basically the no.1 crush of the cryptidcore community, but he’s mysterious and dangerous. (The fuckboy of cryptids, if you will.)

So, basically - breathes - let’s re-cap.

Cryptidcore is an aesthetic based around mythical and unproven creatures and extends to the looks we’d wear if we were heading out to the woods to seek them out. Cryptidcore fans often have hobbies such as reading about mystical conspiracy theories (but not, like, the anti-vax kind, more like the ‘monsters are real’ kind) and going for walks in the forest wearing autumnal tones. Mothman is hot. Bigfoot is a fashion icon. Aliens could be real. Vintage ‘I’m going exploring’ looks from the 1970s - 1990s are back.

You can find more on TikTok here.

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