Have you ever wondered where mermaid legends came from? The folklore of beautiful women gracing coastal, rocky shorelines in half human, half sea-creature form have been documented throughout European, African, and Asian cultures for ages. One of the earliest tales originated in Syria in 1000 BCE, and tells a story of the Syrian goddess Atargatis who dove into a deep lake to become a fish, but was partially stopped for fear that she would be giving up her beautiful human form. The result was her metamorphosis into half scaly fish and half beautiful human form. Well documented in Greek history are Sirens, mermaids who sang to seamen and hypnotized them into a zombie-like trance with their beautiful songs. There have also been mermaid sightings during Caribbean journeys with Christopher Columbus, although historians speculate they were likely manatees spotted by lady-deprived sailors. With the evolution of mermaid mythology, much in part to Disney’s The Little Mermaid (an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's book The Little Mermaid), present day mermaids are perceived as innocent, compassionate and helpful to mankind. Inspired by this sensation and the human imagination, international fashion designer Ana-Lisa Gallant created a mermaid tail for women and girls who wish to be modern day mermaids.
Since she was young, Gallant showed an aptitude and talent for fashion design. As the daughter of a clothing designer, she grew up designing and sewing costumes for Halloween and school plays for family and neighbors. The idea for the mermaid tale was inspired by a client who wished to create tails for her daughters. So, after a great deal of research and trials, Gallant created a walkable, swimmable mono-fin tail which has become an overnight sensation with children. Tailz Mermaid Gear (www.tailzmermaidgear.com), operated in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, comes in an assortment of pattern designs, colors, and fin styles and is sold on Etsy (www.etsy.com), a well know hand-made artistic sales website. Gallant takes great pride in creating each and every tail and loves the positive feedback she constantly receives from children across the globe that get to live their dream of being a real-life mermaid. The concept has also spun-off into Gallant’s invention of Shark Boyz, a tail that come with a shark fin cap for boys. Gallants business has captured the heart of adult sea lovers as well. In fact, Gallant has been approached to create a custom-line for several vacation resorts that hold mermaid beach classes where adults as well as children can learn to snorkel while wearing a mermaid tail.
Mermaid Tailz has also indirectly created positive awareness for the environment. During a recent trip to Coral Bay in St. John, photographs of Tailz were taken underwater with the magnificent and delicate coral reefs. The images were then used by a non-profit organization for their campaign Save Coral Bay (savecoralbay.com). St. John is the smallest of the three Virgin Islands, and currently has far less development than its sister islands where the reefs are not protected. The photographs, pictured below, show Gallant’s sister Regina, who hopes the images will continue to bring support and awareness to the campaign. “It’s one of the last healthy, shore-accessible reefs and we need to protect it from the same negative outcomes development has caused in St. Croix and St. Thomas” says Regina Gallant.
When Gallant is not in the factory creating new concepts in mermaid fashions, she spends her time in the Dojo, honing her 15 years of practice in martial arts. The discipline, perseverance, integrity and honor that accompany a second-degree black-belt have helped Gallant with running her business. Gallant also enjoys deep-sea fishing with her partner Joe where she catches much of her inspiration for her Tailz. Lucky for Gallant, the mermaid craze seems to be growing as evident by mermaid swimming schools in both Spain and the United Kingdom. And with Hollywood stars like Britney Spears and the Kardashians adorning mermaid gear, these Tailz are a hit.