By Claire Watson
“Twee is coming back,”
“Jorts are gonna be the hottest thing this spring,”
“2022 is the year of stripes,”
People are bad at many things, but something that people these days are terrible at is recognising trends. Not to talk about the trend cycle, but to talk about the trend cycle, these days as consumers we are so accustomed to revivals that we fail to recognise what’s new. Trendy does not equal what is in Penny’s windows.
Trendy is what people are talking about and trying on for the first time. Sometimes it’s a specific garment, other times it’s a material, but most times- like twee and mod fashion, it’s a whole artistic movement. It’s fascinating being at the start of a trend because we’re still finding our footing in the fashion world.
This trend is not something that can be thrown onto and pulled off of a shelf. Rather, this trend is born in living rooms with the fire lit and the 6 o’clock news on. It’s born from quirky college students passing the time on the bus or making a dreary lecture entertaining. It’s born from grandparents and passed down through generations. This movement is born from a ball of yarn, and a trusty hook.
Of course, you can find knitwear in nearly every shop. Knitwear is nothing new. But this sudden surge in crocheted clothes highlights our want for something personal and unique. We’re growing tired of the same thing marketed to us every single day, and all these stories of real human beings being exploited by wealthy millionaires are just sickening. Buying handmade clothes is a two-way street. You’re supporting an artist, paying their bills and maintaining their passion, while also receiving something made with love and specially made for you.
The crocheted balaclavas are what first come to mind when thinking about this fashion movement. These pieces ironically began as these high fashion articles, made by labels like Miu Miu and Calvin Klein. However, artists saw these and thought: “hey I could do that” and took over the trend, bringing it “down” to the people.
This is very fitting for the accessory, seeing as the balaclava has a lot of historical and political meaning behind it, generally associated with ideas of protest, anti-fascism, and anarchy. There is also this rising aesthetic of anonymity, through the use of face masks and gas masks, also tied to left-wing ideology.
Of course, this accessory is as practical as it is aesthetic. By covering the mouth it could be used as a face mask- though this would really depend on the wool and how tight the finish is. Remember, balaclavas are not medical grade! The more obvious use is to ward against this spell of cold weather. Given the soft material and the full coverage, the crocheted balaclava will do wonders for insulation and comfort.
Another accessory I see propping up on my respective social media feeds is a blend of beanie and bucket hat that forms two little cat-ear shaped spikes at the top. This piece is absolutely adorable and is perhaps a little more digestible for those that are not wholly on board with the whole balaclava thing.
Last summer we saw crocheted bralettes, and these are still going strong. From dainty cottage-core pieces to grunge, spider-web styles pieces, there truly is something for everyone here, and a diverse community of artists creating beautiful pieces, just waiting for your support.
And it’s not all about buying! Crochet is an incredibly accessible medium, especially compared to similar forms like knitting. All it needs is a yarn, some fingers, and a hook! Crocheting doesn’t require a special setting for you to be in either. I’ve met people crocheting away on the bus, in cafes, in the Boole, and it’s especially great for those wanting to stay wrapped up in bed, or sprawled out in front of the telly.
This trend is a healthy step away from fast fashion. There’s no doubt that we will be seeing these kinds of pieces cropping up in H&M and on Asos, but what really seems to be at the core of this trend is supporting local artists.