Fashion explainer: What is cottagecore and how did it become a big trend?

Within the context of fashion, it sees people romanticising outfits that fit the cottagecore aesthetic. Photo composite: Instagram/@kaiagerber, @louisvuitton

When life gets challenging, we all yearn for simpler times. Cottagecore (also known as farmcore or countrycore), a global trend that promotes an idealised interpretation of rural living, is thus becoming a huge hit in this pandemic-ridden world.

Within the context of fashion, it sees people romanticising outfits that fit the aesthetic. Think loose slip dresses, maxi tops, laidback rompers, straw hats, floral embellishments and crochet accessories.

While cottagecore isn't immediately apparent in Malaysia as a fashion trend, it has its influence. Locally we are seeing a rise in people picking up arts and craft hobbbies like macrame or knitting.

Read more: Stylish mothers-to-be are seen embracing the cottagecore fashion trend

If you have any doubts whether it is truly a trend, search for the hashtag (#cottagecorefashion) on Instagram. There are currently more than 19,000 snaps from users showing off their inspired outfits and wardrobe.

On TikTok, cottagecore fashion videos have a huge total of 4 million views. This really illustrates how popular it is among the younger crowd such as the Gen Zs.

But it isn't just about the clothes though. Cottagecore fashion is seen as part of a definitive lifestyle. Thus, pictures or videos often depict outfits with a carefully orchestrated setup.

A sunny, rustic kitchen. A picturesque meadow. Retro decors. They all make for a great backdrop to really bring out the feel of cottagecore fashion.

this is hard but i smell great #mjdaisy @marcjacobsfragrances

A post shared by Kaia (@kaiagerber) on May 18, 2020 at 5:55pm PDT

A long time coming?

Cottagecore reportedly cropped up as a trend late last year. It however, came into its own this year when everyone was forced indoors under pandemic lockdown.

For those cooped up at home, the prospect of living in the countryside with plenty of space and fresh air became appealing. The increasing popularity of casual fashion due to working from home, helped too.

Why squeeze yourself into tight skirts and crisply tailored jackets when loungewear is now an acceptable form of dressing for Zoom meetings?

The same goes for cottagecore and its practicality. Fashion-wise, it is an extension of comfortable dressing.

Read more: Pyjamas not just for bedtime anymore, as the pandemic rewrites fashion rules

Other trends are being buoyed by the pandemic too. Upcycling for example, is seeing a resurgence. With the pandemic disrupting lives, everyone is suddenly more aware of how their actions can have real consequences.

As such, transforming unused items into high-quality fashion pieces has become a thing. Even designer labels are doing it.

Marine Serre's Maree Noire (Oil Slick) collection for example, comprised several upcycled pieces. To create the pieces, the French designer used leftover stocks of fabric and gave them a high-end second life.

Read more: Fashion explainer: What is 'upcycling' and how did it become a style trend?

The same goes for cottagecore. On the Spring/Summer 2020 runways, the collections by Dior, Louis Vuitton, Jacquemus and more all included cottagecore looks.

Louis Vuitton presented bags adorned with wild flowers. Dior's outfits were accessorised with straw hats, while Jacquemus left the big city to hold its runway show in a lavender farm.

Celebrities are adopting the cottagecore fashion trend too. Gigi and Bella Hadid was photographed by Vogue in April, showing their lives in a rural farmhouse.

Kaia Gerber is also a big fan. She frequently shows off her cottagecore style on Instagram with the backdrop of the great outdoors.

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