From Taylor Swift's 2020 studio album "folklore," to Nintendo's Animal Crossing, and finally down to the infamous Lirika Matoshi's pink strawberry dress--let me introduce you to the aesthetic that booms in the last two years; cottagecore. It refers to an internet aesthetic inspired by a romanticized interpretation of European agricultural life, precisely the English countryside from the Romantic and Victorian periods.
According to Insider, cottagecore is an aesthetic movement that draws together all of the best parts of going off and living in a cabin in the woods--the fruit is always fresh, the air is always clean, and the technology is always out of sight. It is centered on the idea of simple existence where we live in harmony with nature.
Cottage/ Foto: Shan Li Fang/Unsplash
Think of the settings of Maleficent, Lord of The Rings, Tinkerbell, Winnie The Pooh, or My Neighbor Totoro. Elements in cottagecore embrace ones that depict the wonder of nature, along with lush descriptions of food and activities like knitting, baking, farming, pottery, and more.
It is said that cottagecore has emerged way back in the 19th century, with the presence of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit books--which is one of the first introductions people had to the Victorian garden aesthetic--as well as J.R.R. Tolkien's high fantasy from the Lord of the Rings series and other various fairy tales.
Picnic/ Foto: Evangelina Silina/Unsplash
As acknowledged, nature is one of the main visuals of the cottagecore aesthetic. So, the color palette of cottagecore includes light green foliage, browns of natural stones, wood, and flowers, golden hour type of yellow, and pastels like subtle rosy colors in flowers. Another common element in cottagecore includes wild fields, forest, animals, baskets full of mushrooms, berries, and other fresh fruits, down to books, journals, and paintings.
Different from naturecore, there are almost always signs of human presence in cottagecore aesthetics. Humans have to have involvement in the natural environment to shape the landscape into home. The other main visual, and the one that gives cottagecore its namesake is the cottage, which is a fairly loose term that includes multiple types of homes. The most common cottagecore house is the archetypical English thatch-roofed cottage with painted white or rusticated stone walls, chimneys, and shrubbery in the front.
Cottage/ Foto: Ella De Kross/Unsplash
While activities and aesthetic the cottagecore embraces are various and wide-ranging, covering everything from fashion to gardening, cooking to foraging, so too are its origins. It is suspected that cottagecore is a part of a reaction against the capitalistic and industrialized economy and it is also related to ongoing interests in wellness and sustainability. Most online cottagecore adherents praise the virtues of second-hand shopping, thrifting, growing vegetables, and cooking food at home. They're also proponents of the sustainable fashion movement, ethical manufacturing, and all cute and handmade clothing and accessories.
According to Vox, cottagecore is more likely about a state of mind instead of a style of dress or a purchasable product. This derives from the fact that it's difficult to point out someone on the street and label them as "cottagecore" like what we might do with hippies, emo, or goth kids in decades prior. Cottagecore is a delightfully fluid label, one that is able to be merged with other interests like witches or fairies.
Girl with Flowers/ Foto: Luobulinka/Unsplash
From those descriptions, we can't help but see this aesthetic as the dreamiest among them all. With the sudden pandemic lockdown that brought people to have a lot of free time spent at home, people began to resort to cooking, gardening, and embroidery, as a way to deal with the restless times during the early Covid-19 days. Furthermore, the release of the Animal Crossing game on the Nintendo Switch in 2020 pretty much romanticized the main idea of cottagecore, this aesthetic easily rose in popularity. With the help of the rising application TikTok, activities incorporated in the cottagecore aesthetic became trends.
Do you feel influenced by this dreamy aesthetic?