The Art of Crochet Fashion
Crochet clothing has taken current styling trends by storm. This look was particularly popular this past summer, with people wearing handmade tank tops and loosely crocheted pieces over swim suits. As we have transitioned into colder months, these trends have transformed to encompass crocheted sweaters, scarves, hats, and more. There are endless possibilities as we look at this newly popularized mode of clothing construction, ranging from different stitch techniques, boundless fiber arts mediums available, and new styling trends. Crochet has transformed a hobby often associated with older generations into a staple in Gen Z closets everywhere. Despite fluctuating popularity levels, crochet is a timeless style, beloved by all generations and here to stay.
If you are looking to incorporate crochet into your own closet, here are some styles to explore:
Granny Square… Anything!
One easy way to assemble crocheted pieces is through the use of granny squares. These are individually crocheted pieces, constructed in a wide variety of patterns and styles, that can be assembled in various shapes and styles. They are most often used to make blankets, but we have recently seen a rise in the use of granny squares to make wearable pieces. Such clothing includes tank tops, dresses, sweaters, and even pants! This crochet method is easily customizable to fit each person’s style and can be a great place to start if you are looking to make garments on your own!
Mohair: A Must Wear
Mohair is a very fine fiber, typically made from the wool of Angora goats, but oftentimes woven with other fibers such as silk. It is recognizable by the soft fluff that protrudes from the yarn. This material has risen to popularity recently, most often used to make soft and delicate sweaters. Due to its size and fragility, the construction of a mohair piece is often tedious and long, making the prices of this clothing quite steep.
One easy way to incorporate mohair into your wardrobe is with crocheted or knit mohair bows! These are fairly easy to make, assembled with one thin piece of fabric. They provide a great way for beginners to get started with this material. Adding these bows to any outfit introduces new texture and color to elevate your look instantaneously.
Matching sets are possibly the easiest way to put together a cohesive outfit with minimal effort and maximal style. While this trend has already been popular for a few years, it has now been revamped to include fully crocheted outfits. These pieces work for every season, ranging from bikini and skirt sets to matching hats and scarves. While the construction of these pieces might go beyond the skill set of a beginner, Etsy and other small businesses are the best places to look for this handmade fashion.
The Infamous Shrug
This piece will likely be the most controversial one on this list! Shrugs are sleeves connected across the chest and/or back by a thin piece of material, meant to be worn over other shirts and clothing items. These have most recently become popular on social media apps such as tiktok, with creators posting videos of themselves crocheting and styling these items. Their allure may have to do with their relative constructional simplicity, as you can make them without worrying about taking extensive body measurements or spending the time crocheting a whole sweater. Shrugs encourage you to explore new ways of layering and texture in your outfits. These accessories are a fantastic way to add dimension or interest into an otherwise more basic outfit!
Crochet leaves a bigger impact on general fashion trends than the above styles even indicate. With the rise of crochet, we have also seen a demand for more colorful clothing. This technique, often accomplished with colorful yarn, has opened us up to new ideas on how colors can interact with one another. It has also opened doors into exploring new knitwear movements. We as consumers are looking outside of the crochet trends that we love for other creative ways to incorporate fiber arts, such as knitting and embroidery, into our closets.
With the rise of this trend, we are bound to see fast fashion brands jumping on the chance to contribute to this movement. It is common now to walk into any store and find colorful and intricately crocheted pieces, ranging from places such as ZARA to Urban Outfitters. We are enticed to buy the pieces, for their cheaper prices and availability. What people might not know, however, is that crocheting is a very labor-intensive process. This technique, with the skills and maneuvers that it employs, involves direct human interaction. This means that the ass-marketed fast fashion crocheted items that you see in stores are made by hand or with the assistance of inefficient man-operated machines. The use of machines in this process, however, can never truly replicate the exact techniques employed in handmade crocheting. With the prices that these pieces are going for, sometimes as low as five dollars, workers are severely undercompensated for their time and effort.
I encourage people to support small businesses, individual fiber artists, or to take up crocheting on your own. Check out the links to the Etsy artists credited with the pictures in this article or search online resources and your local shops to find many more talented crochet designers! To get involved with other crocheters and knitters here at Penn, I encourage you to check out the two fibers arts clubs on Penn’s campus, Fiber Arts Circle and Yarnaholics. Here you can connect with other creatives to share techniques and ideas with one another. As a lover of both crochet and fashion, I strongly suggest that everyone explore the art of crochet fashion!