Cottagecore aesthetic offers sustainable, mindful lifestyle for students

Jade Emerson, Life & Arts General Reporter

From VSCO girls to dark academia, internet culture hosts a fair share of eclectic aesthetics. However, during quarantine, a new movement took over the screen: cottagecore. 

Cottagecore, the aesthetic movement centered on romanticising simple country life, conjures images of ivy-covered cottages, baking bread, puffed sleeves and handmade projects. What started as an internet phase only months ago has transformed into a movement that challenges students to reevaluate the meaning of sustainable living and the lasting importance of slowing down. 

Business honors freshman, Kaylani Addison, who first learned to crochet as a child, said she felt inspired by the movement’s recent blowup on TikTok. She picked up her longtime hobby again and started her own crochet business this summer.

“Cottagecore painted it in a way where these really mundane activities could be fun, and it could be something you could cherish and make into a whole aesthetic,” Addison said.

Starting her business, Addison recognized the connection between sustainability practices and the cottagecore lifestyle. 

“Crocheting has actually given me a chance to do my part in sustainability,” Addison said. “Overall cottagecore — making your own food (and) making your own clothing — has a big part with sustainability.”

In addition to promoting sustainability, the trend encourages connecting with one’s overall personal well-being, celebrating the mundane moments of life and channeling a sense of peace.  

“Self-care is a big part of cottagecore,” Addison said. “Focusing on things, doing things for yourself, having little crafts and little activities that bring you back to reality or like to a smaller sense of self — these are important things that cottagecore really exemplifies.”

To disconnect from social media, computer science freshman Megan Sundheim channelled cottagecore by teaching herself how to crochet during quarantine. With the pandemic and a rapid news cycle, Sundheim looks to the trend’s principles as a way to separate herself.

“Cottagecore is an aesthetic that is mostly centered around a desire to get back to simpler living,” Sundheim said. “During quarantine especially, a simpler life is definitely something that people wanted to aspire to and crochet was a part of that.”

Sundheim describes TikTok and Instagram as the, “perfect breeding ground for the insane growth of trends,” since their algorithms helped increase cottagecore’s popularity. But beyond the trend cycle, cottagecore tapped into the desires of many to escape from the confines of quarantine and into the idealization of rural life. 

For mechanical engineering freshman Alyssa Dixon, cottagecore provided a new way to view changes in her daily life during the pandemic. 

“Everything (being) online, it can be kind of hard to see progress,” Dixon said. “But if you can do something with your hands and actually visually see it progressing in front of you, it can make you feel more like you’ve actually done something.”

With nonstop schedules, endless assignments and a high-pressure environment, many students identify with the elements of cottagecore that give them a chance to step into a world of serenity and simplicity.

“Sometimes, it can feel like everything is moving way too fast,” Dixon said. “But if you slow down, and if you get into one thing, it relaxes your brain and makes you feel okay … It can be at my pace. There’s no rush, there’s no pressure.”