‘I wouldn’t have considered making rugs if I hadn’t seen a 15 second TikTok showing how easy it is to start,’ says Ana, who has received tens of thousands of views on TikTok for her rug making.
She’s one of many people embracing traditional crafts in recent months – and sharing her work on TikTok, where a trend for crafting, old-fashion hobbies, and making sustainable clothing, has emerged and thrived out of lockdown.
Amy Lesko, who has sold out of her first collection of handmade clothing online thanks to her TikTok virality, says without social media, she would never have dreamed of making clothes for herself, let alone for a career.
‘Not in like a “omg I want to BE THEM” way,’ she explains, ‘But in a ‘wow everyone is so talented and creative and I want to create my dream wardrobe too!’ way.’
Her unique collection of cute crop tops, bucket hats and bandanas ties in easily with the Y2K aesthetic found all over TikTok, but it’s not just the styles that are pushing sales, but a generational exhaustion with fast fashion, too.
‘People are becoming tired of brands having no personal or human touch to their audience,’ says Amy.
The making of a Butterfly Baby crop top! ? #fyp #fashion #sustainablefashion #handmade #sewingdiy #fashionbrand
‘We’re tired of fast fashion brands ripping off those that have put so much time and craft into something. We want to support small creators, not multi million dollar companies!
‘Mass production isn’t sustainable and is already damaging our planet and people are waking up to that! Consumers are becoming more educated and are making more conscious decisions.’
Ana thinks conscious shopping is more than just a trend for Gen Z, as the generation is notorious for fighting against the climate crisis.
‘Gen Z is definitely focused on sustainability and ethical production,’ says Ana. ‘Traditional crafting almost always represents those values.
‘A lot of people want to learn how to create so they can avoid purchasing mass produced products, I personally love buying handmade ceramics, garments, etc. I love knowing that a piece was made by someone who is skilled and loves their art.’
Sustainability is a hot topic on TikTok, with the hashtag #sustainable currently holding 301.1million views and #sustainablefashion 597.3million views at the time of writing.
The inspiration for making rugs for Anfernee Abad, however, came from offline.
‘I didn’t realise rug making was a thing at all until my girlfriend gifted me a rug for my birthday,’ Anferfee tells Metro.co.uk. ‘She had a mutual friend who lived by Burbank and they made rugs for fun so she commissioned them to make me a rug of Frank Ocean’s orange Beamer.
‘She inspired me to make my first rug, which was a surprise for my girlfriend. After I gifted it to her, she posted it on her TikTok where it blew up. That’s how I started taking commissions but I never went into it with that intent.’
showing off rugs my bf made recently ? v proud of him #rug #rugmaking #style #ootd #vintage #sanrio #frankocean #fyp
Abad thinks that traditional crafting holds nostalgia for those who do it and view it on social media, which during lockdown has given people ‘a sense of comfort’.
With TikTok, YouTube and video sharing so easy to access, Abad agrees with Ana that ‘picking up new skills through resources such as YouTube and social media makes it fun and easier to craft’.
Beatrice Andrew, a behavioural Science Consultant at the human experience agency VERJ, says that nostalgia and crafting are powerful tools for self-care – a necessity amid the overwhelming stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic.
‘In times of trouble or unhappiness, we will regress to happier times, and engage in the activities associated with that happiness,’ Beatrice says.
However, for those Gen Z-ers who don’t have previous experience with crafting – and therefore might not have those positive associations to fall back on regarding it – Beatrice feels it is not nostalgia that is comforting this generation, but a need to connect with the physical world; one that has felt even more distant during 2020’s multiple lockdowns where we’ve been cooped up indoors..
‘The intangible, virtual, digital world is leaving them deprived of tacit connections with the physical domain,’ she explains, ‘Crafting evokes a flow state – commonly referred to being in the zone – which is good for you physically but also evokes clearer thinking in all areas of your life.’
Will we keep seeing hand-crafted rugs and crocheted crop tops all over TikTok? We’ll have to wait and see.
But a general enjoyment of traditional crafts sounds like a trend that’s here to stay.
In the hell of 2020, when the world feels like an increasingly scary and unstable place, we need the comfort of those cosy, grounding, and sustainable acts.
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