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How TikTok and 'knit-fluencers' are making knitting and crochet 'trendy and cool again'

The knitting resurgence is clearly in full swing, thanks in part to the rise of TikTok – becoming a revolutionary act in the age of fast fashion

Tom Daley knitting before the Men’s 10m Platform Final at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Image: Clive Rose/Getty Images

The tapping of knitting needles, balls of yarn scattered over the carpet and a knitter, sitting in the corner counting their stitches under their breath, begging not to be interrupted. Tradition expects the knitter to be an older woman, creating the next in a long list of cardigans for their latest grandchild. Now, sitting in the corner, tapping away, is more likely a member of Gen Z.  

Crafting, crochet and knitting have made a comeback and Gen Z are firmly on board, creating old and new designs, debating types of yarn, providing tutorial videos and showing off their creations of the month. 

During 2020, large numbers began crafting, with embroidery kits, knitting kits, crochet hooks, paint and anything else remotely crafty that kept people away from doomscrolling flew off the shelves (or more likely into Amazon packages). And over the past three years, many people haven’t put the knitting needles down.  

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In March 2023, John Lewis released a report that saw a 61% increase in haberdashery sales over the last year, coinciding with the increase in searches for “knitting for beginners” since March 2020.  

The knitting resurgence is clearly in full swing, thanks in part to the rise of TikTok, an app with Gen Z as its core demographic – just searching for “how to knit” returns thousands of videos, #knittok has 1.1 billion views.  

Paula Averkamp, a knit-fluencer across TikTok and YouTube, recalls teaching herself to knit during the UK lockdowns and explains how instrumental TikTok became in changing the knitting world.  

“Before TikTok, it felt like knitting was seen as this uncool, outdated thing that only older ladies would do to pass the time. TikTok has helped make it cool and trendy again. Seeing young people share some original, stylish and trendy designs that are so different from the old-school knitwear you would originally think of really changed the game.” 

She explains that creating your own clothes can be a revolutionary act in the age of fast fashion: “By showing the time and effort that goes into a piece of clothing, hopefully, people will understand that cheap clothing can never be made without exploitation.” 

Ellie Sivins is a member of The Big Issue’s Breakthrough programme. 

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

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