Cottagecore is a term that has increasingly become popular this year. Young people are wearing prairie dresses, baking bread and cakes, knitting and cross-stitching, decorating their homes with vintage pieces, planting flowers and herbs, etc. They seem to be traveling back to a time before smartphones, laptops, and social media were not around yet.
Young people are obsessed with the cottagecore aesthetic. It started going around on social media a few years ago, but it fully emerged in the mainstream in 2020, right in the middle of a pandemic.
Cottagecore in Every Aspect of Life
Cottagecore is everywhere right now. Global fashion brands like Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Markarian, and Jonathan Simkhai brought it to the runway this spring. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid also incorporate elements into their current style. It is also one of the most popular trends in interior design.
It also has permeated the wedding industry. In an attempt to create a fairy-tale-like celebration of love, brides and grooms-to-be are on the hunt for barn venues for weddings.
It is in music, too. Taylor Swift recently released an album that reflects exactly what cottagecore stands for.
Escaping Temporarily from Reality
Part of the charm of cottagecore is the illusion of being outside. With the pandemic forcing the public to retreat indoors, people, especially those who are in the city, are yearning to be close and commune with nature.
This craving for being outdoors is also apparent in the popularity of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” The video game, which is released in March, led to a surge in demand for the Nintendo Switch. Reports reveal that sales for the console more than doubled immediately after “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” dropped around the world.
In “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” users are flown into a remote island along with anthropomorphic animals. Their task is to catch insects, go fishing, and dig fossils. It may not seem exciting, but it was a hit during a time when nations around the world started locking down in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19.
Safe-Space for the LGBTQ+
The appeal of cottagecore is not exclusive solely for those who want to forget that they are living through a deadly global health crisis. Before COVID-19, queer teens have been finding the freedom to express themselves without judgment through cottagecore.
Some people argue that cottagecore is celebrating traditional gender roles, especially the tradwife peddled by white supremacists. That is not how young people see it.
According to one person interviewed by Vice’s i-D, in the real world, people are still very much anti-LGBTQ+. Many rural towns across the United States are still homophobic and transphobic. Through cottagecore, they can imagine a world where they can be visibly queer in their hometown.
Reflection of Values
Cottagecore reflects the values that are most important to young people nowadays.
It promotes sustainability by celebrating the use of vintage pieces in furniture, clothing, etc. Millennials and Gen-Z are the generations that are witnessing the destruction of the environment because of capitalism. They also will be the ones who will experience the devastating consequences of climate change.
There is also an emphasis on being self-sustaining. Cottagecore fans are knitting their own scarves, baking their own bread, and growing their own herbs. This generation is well aware of where their clothes are being manufactured and how their food might be loaded with pesticides.
Moreover, there is a focus on slow-living and mindfulness. Millennials and Gen-Z grew up on the internet. Dozens of studies have already proven how being constantly online can negatively impact mental health.
Depression is on the rise among teens and young adults. One study claims that excessive social media use plays a huge role in the worrying trend.
While social media is constantly bombarding users with new products to buy, cottagecore invites people to switch off their devices and spend a quiet afternoon reading a good book while sitting under the shade of an old tree.
Even if true cottagecore living is not attainable to most people, especially to those who reside in cities, the trend encourages an escape from the fast-paced digital world.
Cottagecore is making people feel like they traveled back to a quiet world, far away from the chaos of the present. There is no COVID-19, no expensive footwear and smartphones to buy, and no climate change to worry about. In short, it is a place where they feel safe from fear and pressure.
Cottagecore is an idealized world where people are free to express themselves without judgment. Through it, they find a community of like-minded people.