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What Exactly Is Cottagecore and How Did It Get So Popular?

If you’ve started to see a steady trickle—or maybe even a deluge—of images of nostalgic countryside scenes and peasant dresses with eyelet lace popping up in your social media streams, you’re not alone: Cottagecore, a movement hearkening back to agricultural life, skills, and crafts, is on the rise. “As a concept, it embraces a simpler, sustainable existence that is more harmonious with nature. Aesthetically, it’s a nod to the traditional English countryside style, romantic and nostalgic,” says Davina Ogilvie, founder of Wovn Home, a start-up that makes custom (but affordable and accessible) window treatments.

Believe it or not, you may have even partaken in some cottagecore activities without even realizing it: dutifully maintaining a sourdough starter (even if the actual bread you made didn’t turn out so well), suddenly realizing that you need a Laura Ashley–esque floral print dress with ruffles (the ’90s really are back), or finding refuge in the great outdoors and its bountiful offerings (who says you have to WFH from an actual desk?).

And while the activities and aesthetics that cottagecore embraces are wide-ranging and complex, covering everything from fashion to gardening, cooking to frolicking, so too are its origins. It’s in part a reaction against capitalism and our increasing time spent in front of a screen, but also related to ongoing interests in wellness and sustainability, and more broadly the idea of social consciousness. Some saw cottagecore emerging as early as 2017, but most say that it really came into its own in 2019, thanks in part to its popularity on TikTok, notes Noemie Sérieux, founder of the Instagram account CottagecoreBlackFolk.

Cottagecore began to fill people’s social media feeds on Instagram, TikTok, Tumblr (yes, that’s still a big community!), and beyond; the New York Times even published a piece in March of this year about cottagecore, calling it “a budding aesthetic movement.” Enter the pandemic, and it went from “budding” to blooming to full-on booming. “With ample time on our hands when the pandemic hit and quarantine became commonplace across the globe, we turned to finding fulfillment and purpose outside of our monetary potential—and cottagecore was the perfect vehicle,” explains Noemie. And suddenly, with so much time at home, it seemed like everyone was baking focaccia laced with herbs and colorful vegetables, planning summer gardens in their backyard, and engaging in grandma-inspired craft projects like knitting and embroidery.

So what exactly embodies the cottagecore aesthetic? “For me, cottagecore is about coziness at home,” says Molly Hatch, founder of an eponymous tableware and home goods company, who has embraced the style. “Key aesthetic components are bringing natural elements indoors as decorative elements—dried flowers, fresh flowers, houseplants—along with a natural color palette with neutrals and warm tones,” she explains. Add in a healthy dose of historical inspiration from old-time farming (think Laura Ingalls Wilder books) and some of your grandma’s vintage dishware and you’re well on your way.

Source: What Exactly Is Cottagecore and How Did It Get So Popular?

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