What is “craftcore” and how slow fashion designers celebrate craftsmanship in their collections

When British Olympic gold medalist diver Tom Daley was spotted crocheting at the Tokyo Olympics and called the contraption a “secret weapon” that kept him sane in tough times, a chorus of agreement has been heard on the global web. Everyone from legacy fashion brands and TikTok trend setters to Instagram’s artisan team clicked their crochet needles at the same time.

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Over the past year, as the world struggled with isolation, baked banana bread and embraced do-it-yourself crafts, fashion designers realized the emotional and artisanal value of making hand as well as its potential to stop the hitherto dizzying speed of fast fashion. Out came knitting needles, embroidery hoops, cross-stitch Aida fabrics, beads, tie-dye colors, and presto, we ourselves had a new craft fashion subculture called craftcore. (courtesy term Nylon magazine). Grandma’s favorite hobbies were back in fashion. Since then, a curious amalgamation of folk techniques such as knitting, crocheting, tatting, patchwork, embroidery, appliqué, tie-dye and beadwork have graced the Spring/Summer 2021 show at Chloé, Valentino , Bottega Veneta, Marni, Fendi, Christian Dior and Alberta Ferretti.

take it slow

In India too, where hand embroidery is more of a stock in trade than a trend of the day, designers have made a subliminal shift towards slow and simple processes, emphasizing quality over quantity. Aneeth Arora de Péro, flag bearer of the artisanal brigade for more than a decade, creates crochet trimmings in collaboration with Afghan refugee women, knits sweaters with Himalayan artisans and embroiders roses and wreaths of ingots with in-house craftsmen. Arora believes the new appreciation for “grandmother’s crafts” stems from a mixture of reflection and nostalgia. She says: “When we were forced to take a break during lockdown, we realized that taking things slow wasn’t necessarily bad. We also understood the beauty of the handmade and the uniqueness of these centuries-old techniques where no piece is alike.