Decoding Cottage Core

Decoding Cottage Core

Words by Louisa Martin
Photos by WeHeartIt


My nighttime routine isn't complete without tucking myself in with a little Tik Tok. After washing my face and brushing my teeth and turning off the heat so that last month’s utilities bill will stop giving me nightmares, I bundle up and traverse the three snowy clicks across my phone screen to my Tik Tok FYP (For you Page). This is twenty-two.

But something strikes my groggy interest this wintery eve. As I scroll through what were formerly gullies of dogs, cake decorators, Adele impressions or new dance trends, I depart. I am still in my twin bed but now a field of lavender surrounds me, a straw hat with yellow silk ribbon is bestowed upon my head. I am transported to the English countryside. I begin touring streets of thatched roofs blanketed in ivy, honeysuckle growing up the side of nestled charming bungalows. As I pull my quilt tighter over my chin, I see rural skies painted with storybook sunsets. Chirping robins and folky melodies join the hum of my roommates nighttime sound machine. I have arrived to a land of Cottage Core and Tik Tok has brought me here. Tik Tok and the Shetland pony I just gracefully dismounted in my head.

What is Cottage Core and why has my Tik Tok feed been consumed by it for the past three months? This internet style fad encapsulates a longing for nature, art, girlish minimalism and square neck dresses. (See one of my favorite Cottage Core Tik Tok-ers, Sophie Seddon, for inspo) But why? Why did my Tik Tok feed transport me to white puffy sleeves in European daisy fields?

It’s popularity is spurred by a generation longing for comfort and innocence. Much like movies or blaring music or the perfect novel or an unorthodox amount of Trader Joe's almond butter cups (from no experience of my own) provide an escape and distraction, Cottage Core transports the weary to a world of elegance and felicity. Unfortunately, the weary are not in short supply these days. But this seemingly surface level internet craze is multifaceted and worth dissecting. An exhausted generation of Tik Tok teens needs Cottage Core, but it's worth acknowledging that Cottage Core needs Tik Tok.

The trend elevates the platform from its usual stereotypes, giving willing users an ethereal scrolling space and growing students of the refined. Will I start foraging my own honey and sewing my own clothes any time soon? Not likely. Did I heavily consider it? Absolutely. But, Cottage Core may need Tik Tok. Here lies the unlikely pairing of an efficient, technology colored generation and a return to a slow-paced life of peace and pleasantry. While lovely, these themes need Tik Tok to be remembered by a generation on the go. The perfect irony relies on the fact that in order to appreciate the luxurious, old fashioned and calming facets of a life in the European countryside these images must be portrayed on a platform fueled by brevity and immediate gratification of a search.

While imperfect, the dynamics of this symbiotic relationship uncover the truth that the best way to appreciate the old may be by embracing the new. How about them (fresh-picked from my moss covered backyard) apples?