Crochet is usually associated with multicoloured granny blankets tossed over the back of a sofa. But recently, the homespun craft has pivoted to fashion’s hottest trend. From high-end stores to high street, hype for the handicraft is everywhere, spanning womenswear and men’s.

Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, were photographed earlier this week leaving a London restaurant in his and hers crochet looks. At Glastonbury, baseball caps and denim cutoffs have been overtaken by crochet bucket hats and skirts.

Reality TV stars including Love Islanders favour crochet bikinis, while their male counterparts wear crochet polo shirts unbuttoned to showcase honed abs. When the show’s host, Maya Jama, kicked off this year’s series – an unofficial signifier of summer starting – she did so in a white crochet mini dress. The trend is the fashion equivalent of “yarn bombing” – the street art practice of covering public objects with textiles.

Meanwhile, the men’s section of the online retailer Asos offers more than 200 crochet items including vests and shorts, and the women’s division has more than 1,000, with a red and white crop top one of its fastest selling pieces.

At John Lewis, a £49 geometric short-sleeved shirt has sold out. Reflecting a wider interest in boho vintage, online platforms for secondhand clothes are also enjoying the benefits. Depop has experienced a 32% increase in searches for crochet since January.

Zak Maoui, the style director of the Gentlemen’s Journal, says crochet has moved on from its connotations with 70s hippy style. He points to Kelce’s cream ensemble as an example of “neat and subtle” crochet. “It’s a way of tapping into a sexier style of dressing without flashing too much,” he says.

Sierra Ndagire, the founder of Crolage, who hand-makes stretchy crochet dresses and matching separates in London, says: “Crochet can be very individualistic, allowing people to express themselves more through their clothing. Although it’s popular, chances are you won’t be wearing the same thing as everyone else.”

However, not all items advertised as crochet are in fact crochet. The designer Ruth Herring, who creates crochet prototypes for luxury designers including JW Anderson and SS Daley, says cheap crochet items are often lace knitted or created using an embroidery technique on a machine while authentic crochet is handmade with a single hook and yarn.

If a hand crochet item is being sold cheaply it could also mean the brand’s workers were not paid a fair wage. Herring, who describes herself as “a very experienced and fast [crochet knitter]”, says a simple waistcoat would take her two days to make. “Hand crochet should be expensive. It’s not churned out.”

Meanwhile, mass retailers sell versions for as little as £20. Low-cost pieces are also often made from acrylic wool, a synthetic fibre made from polymers derived from oil. The fabric is non-breathable, and many crochet-clad Glasto-goers might find themselves feeling sweaty and itchy in the heat.

Swift’s dress is from the Australian brand VRG GRL and retails for £99. On social media, some users have called out the singer, whose net worth is estimated at $1.1bn, for endorsing low-cost handmade crochet. However, the dress has also given a boost to the homespun market, with some Swifties creating a DIY pattern. Fifteen hours after spotting the dress on Swift, Krista McCloud, a craft maker, had launched a free pattern on her site. It has since been downloaded thousands of times.

“Pattern creation and testing usually takes several weeks, but everyone was ready with yarn and hooks in hand the moment they saw the image first posted online,” McCloud says. She estimates it will take her 12 to 16 hours to complete the dress, which she hopes to wear this weekend.

Depop’s trends spokesperson, Agus Panzoni, says crochet taps into a wider trend of consumers craving tactility and comfort. “The handmade feel resonates with people seeking unique, artisanal pieces that offer a sense of individuality and craftsmanship. It evokes a sense of IRL-ness and personal connection, making [crocheted pieces] highly desirable in today’s fast-paced, mass-produced fashion landscape. It is ironic that fast-fashion brands are capitalising on this trend.”

“It is frustrating as fast-fashion crochet is normally a bad replica of a crochet designer’s work,” says Ndagire. “It doesn’t end up fitting or looking the same. They don’t care about the craft, skill and the beauty in the time it takes to create and handmake something unique.”

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Get the look: crochet head to toe

Co-ord, £200, Crolage

A matching top and miniskirt from Crolage.

Bucket hat, £105, Story MFG

Tabard, £475, SS Daley

Espadrilles, £400, Farm Rio

Hair scrunchie, £10.50, Moosey Crochet via Etsy

Shirt, £160, Portuguese Flannel

Cardigan, £268, Free People

Bali Juliette crochet cardigan from Free People.

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