“Cottagecore” is an aesthetic that has taken over the internet recently, particularly among college students. This is a fashion and lifestyle that centers on themes of nature.
Jennifer Jones, senior in biology, said she believes “cottagecore” started trending because of the desire to romanticize life, especially during the pandemic lockdowns.
“I think it started gaining popularity during the bread baking part of quarantine, and then just went from there, she said. “Now it includes baking, crafting, having trinkets, all sort of a cute natural aesthetic.”
Jones said she was introduced to this aesthetic through TikTok, a video-based social media platform. She has always been interested in crafting, so “cottagecore” was something that she thought would be interesting to try. She said she has not completely switched her style to “cottagecore,” but she still likes watching the videos online.
“I think that it’s sort of escapism,” Jones said. “Even if you’re going about your normal life, if you’re going through it doing creative things and surrounded by pretty objects, it’s easier to enjoy.”
Jones said the “cottagecore” fashion items she has in her closet are all thrifted. Completely changing clothing styles is the hardest thing to do since clothes are so expensive and finding pieces that fit an aesthetic is difficult, she said.
Katherine Arpen, lecturer in art history, said “cottagecore” relates to an idealized rural life.
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“‘Cottagecore’ centers on a romanticized view of the countryside; imagine a field of flowers, soft grass, warm light, and a slower pace centered on nature and working with your hands,” she said.
Some people approach “cottagecore” as a visual aesthetic, and she said they participate in this trend through sharing images on online social media platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram and TikTok.
However, Arpen said some people choose to overlap this visual aspect with their actual lives, and participate in things such as gardening, baking, knitting or exploring the outdoors.
“A lot of the recent discussion of “cottagecore” has focused on how it has offered an appealing alternative during a difficult time,” she said. “Many of us spent much of the past year indoors and often overwhelmed by a new life largely conducted online, so it’s understandable that some people would take pleasure in softly-filtered images of misty landscapes or videos of people carving out time to plant seeds or sew something by hand.”
Arpen said “cottagecore” was active online prior to the pandemic, however, there has been a major rise in interest in the last year.
“As an online community, it can’t escape technology, but it’s using technology to interact and share content that ideally has a positive impact on the individual and their followers,” she said.
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