July 18, 2024

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.

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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.

But for many, cottagecore is more than just an aesthetic. Noemie says that her account is “a community,” one that has allowed her to expand the traditional definitions of cottagecore that referred to it nearly exclusively as a white, colonial-era, European aesthetic. “When I typed “cottagecore black girls” into any social media, literally nothing would come up,” she recounts. So when she set up her own Instagram account, “I wanted to be as inclusive as possible for my people,” consciously showcasing a wide variety of Black people encompassing a range of sizes, genders, skin tones, and religions. “I knew what it was like to never see people who looked like me living the life I desired, and I didn’t want anyone else to feel like that,” she explains.


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