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Crafting a new narrative: TikTok’s impact on the revival of traditional hobbies

TikTok+has+provided+the+ideal+platform+for+showcasing+the+intricate+and+mesmerizing+processes+of+crocheting%2C+knitting+and+sewing.+TikTok+crafters%2C+many+of+whom+are+from+Generation+Z%2C+use+their+platforms+to+share+their+projects%2C+tips+and+techniques.+
Alene Keppy
TikTok has provided the ideal platform for showcasing the intricate and mesmerizing processes of crocheting, knitting and sewing. TikTok crafters, many of whom are from Generation Z, use their platforms to share their projects, tips and techniques.

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, TikTok has emerged as a driving force behind the resurgence of traditional crafts, particularly crocheting, knitting and sewing. Generation Z has embraced these once-niche hobbies, turning them into mainstream trends.

Crafting tutorials on TikTok have become a popular genre, combining education with entertainment. Short, engaging videos break down complex techniques into digestible snippets, making crocheting, knitting and sewing accessible to a wide audience. Gen Z, always eager to learn and experiment, has embraced this dynamic and interactive form of learning. 

TikTok thrives on challenges and trends, and the crafting community is no exception. From showcasing finished products to participating in themed challenges, crafters on TikTok keep the content fresh and inspiring. During the COVID-19 lockdown, for example, many Harry Styles fans learned to crochet to recreate the colorful cardigan that Harry wore on his 2020 “Today” show appearance. 

Senior Muhan Basnet re-created Harry’s cardigan when it was trending on TikTok. Basnet believes that this trend played a large role in introducing knitting, crocheting and sewing to Gen Z.

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“I think that [this trend] sparked a lot of interest and conversation around knitting, crocheting and sewing… I know that I saw a lot more crochet work on Etsy and Pinterest after this trend. Ever since the cardigan became popular, crocheting especially has been a really popular hobby with Gen Z,” Basnet explained.

TikTok’s algorithm fosters niche communities, allowing users with shared interests to connect and foster a sense of belonging. Crocheting, knitting and sewing enthusiasts have found a welcoming space to share their passions, exchange ideas, and offer support. This sense of community has been instrumental in breaking down stereotypes and encouraging even more individuals to explore these crafts. 

Traditionally considered activities for an older demographic, these hobbies are no longer limited to stereotypes, and they have social media to thank. TikTok creates a digital bridge where diverse age groups can come together, learn from one another and find common ground. 

For sophomore Alaina Carslake, sewing is a family craft that has been passed down for generations. 

“I think that it is important for younger generations to embrace hobbies like sewing because it’s something that has been done for many generations and can connect young people to the older generations. [Sewing] is like an art form that is useful in everyday life,” Carslake explained.

But why does Gen Z resonate with such obscure hobbies?

In a fast-paced world filled with digital distractions and constant stimuli, crocheting, knitting and sewing have emerged as therapeutic and rewarding activities. Beyond creating fashionable clothes and accessories, these crafts offer a multitude of benefits for both mental and physical well-being.

A 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that people who knit and crochet have a diminished chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss. 

Additionally, the rhythmic and repetitive nature of crocheting and knitting induces a state of relaxation which reduces stress levels. Engaging in these activities can be a welcome break from social media and the demands of daily life, providing a calming retreat for the mind. 

Carslake, for example, enjoys sewing because it allows her to unwind.

“I enjoy sewing because it’s relaxing… it gives me something to do that doesn’t include being on my phone. It gives me something to do with my hands and lets me be creative,” Carslake said.

Despite the wonderful health benefits associated with these crafts, some members of Gen Z have embraced sewing, knitting and crocheting because of their sustainable qualities.

Gen Z’s growing commitment to sustainability finds an ally in the slow and thoughtful nature of creating handmade clothes and accessories. Tiktok creators often highlight the environmental benefits of making one’s clothes or upcycling existing garments, inspiring younger generations to become more eco-conscious. 

Yolanda Espericueta, also known as @yolandainthecity on TikTok, is a popular “thrift flip” content creator. Last year, Yolanda upcycled one t-shirt every day for a month to inspire her followers to find, “new and unique ways to transform their old t-shirts instead of donating them or throwing them away.” Yolanda’s most popular video in this series reached over 963,000 views and 61,800 likes.

In a world characterized by digital distractions, the therapeutic, rewarding and sustainable nature of crocheting, knitting and sewing has found resonance with Gen Z. This convergence of creativity, well-being and sustainability underscores the profound impact that TikTok has had on reshaping the narrative surrounding traditional crafts.

Gen Z’s newfound love for these once-niche hobbies has proved that even in a fast paced digital age, traditional crafts can find new life and purpose. 

This story was originally published on Spartan Shield on February 20, 2024.