TREND A HAND AWAY: CROCHET, THIS SEASON’S HIT TECHNIQUE! In quarantine, the ancient handiwork has resurfaced as viral on TikTok and as one of the crafts preferred by major brands to raise awareness. It is easy to confuse, but also simple to recognize. Crochet is handwork done with a single hook needle, unlike knitting, which requires a pair of flat needles as a tool. It can also be identified by the weft, which is generally more open, the thread that can be thicker, or the wider range of possible stitches – five, to be precise, with which an infinite number of variations are allowed. This is why it is so common to see crochet with different designs and textures in a single piece, and not just plain, as is often the case with knitting.
Despite their own characteristics, there is an essential common factor in these crafts, which have exploded in popularity in recent months: they are handmade. With a little help from social networks such as TikTok and Instagram, crochet, knitting, and macramé have become a must-have for those times when we are most restricted, when we are isolated in our homes looking for a hobby, a new craft to learn. It turns out that the technique has extrapolated the 70’s revival image, of a beach outlet or grandma’s cardigan. Crochet has found its way into accessories and into very contemporary looks that exalt kitsch, allow a certain cuteness, and renew what is understood as luxury. Something handmade is the most valuable thing you can have now, that’s what designers started to advocate (and rightly so!).
The trend was already showing its faces since the end of 2019, when the summer 2020 shows of gringas brands rolled around. Altuzarra used the technique in blouses and tops, dressed with tailoring sets. Giambattista Valli bet on a similar balance, pairing crochet bras with longer, classier skirts. Stella McCartney, in turn, decided for long dresses, in which the crochet transparency was highlighted. Marni played with overlaps. The Italian brand’s open weft crochet with naïf flower decorations became a second layer used on top of colorful dresses, more attached to the body.But the technique only reigned during the quarantine. When – who would say – the practice associated with grandma aroused the interest of the new generations. One of the culprits was Harry Styles, who had appeared in a crochet cardigan by JW Anderson in February last year during an appearance on The Today Show. The piece, made up of colorful squares like a patchwork quilt, had already caught attention, but it became a fixture among the newbies when, in lockdown, tutorials on how to reproduce it at home spread across TikTok. The trend grew so much that it was even featured in digital looks on Animal Crossing and captivated the designer himself, Jonathan Anderson, who made available a DIY PDF, in which he teaches how to produce the model on his brand’s official website.
In these Generation Z networks, the technique also found other trends that were vibrating and growing, such as cottagecore, worshiping the countryside and everything that is handmade. There was also the dark academy, a collegiate look with a Victorian and comfy feel. In this visual trend, crochet only grew. Its popularity in these apps was such that Depop, the social e-commerce favorite of teenagers, recorded a 900% increase (between March and August last year) in searches for crochet. Not surprisingly, brands well connected to internet trends did not miss the opportunity and produced their own items, such as Heaven by Marc Jacobs (the designer’s youngest brand), with its bucket hats to surf the hype.