The Season to "Cwtch-Up"
The feeling of wellbeing, about quiet enjoyment, whether through time spent with close friends or family, sitting by a fire with a hot chocolate, or putting on warm socks and dry clothes after a rainstorm. In English we call it "coziness", in Portuguese it's "aconchego", in Danish it's "Hygge" and in Wales...
Cwtch, (rhymes with ‘butch’) has emerged as one of the nation’s favorite words in Wales and is a small cozy place, a cubbyhole; but it also has another meaning. Cwtch also refers to the act of creating a small space between you and another – like a hug, only much better! To “cwtch-up” is to snuggle up with someone on a cold winter night. The true meaning of cozy!
Cwtch has a way of transporting you back to the feeling of being protected by a parent; safe and comforting. This corresponds with the word’s other meaning, which is a place to safely store things – if you give someone a cwtch, you’re offering them a safe refuge from the ups and downs of life.
The Feeling Not Just the Appearance
It’s interesting, though, that the full experience of cwtch depends on our acknowledgement of the existence of the threatening dark and cold outside this refuge. This new trend, that emerged in 2016, is perhaps a sign that we are searching for this same security, this certainty, in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world.
Concepts like cwtch reflect the way we live now, in that they gather interiors, food and fashion into one cohesive picture, like a perfectly curated Instagram still life, or a Pinterest board. Other people’s photos are part of the daily fabric of modern life. You can window shop from your computer or mobile phone. In just a few seconds, you can see exactly how other people do it in their own homes. But cwtch is about how we feel, rather than simply being about how things appear.
Cwtch-Up Your Home with Cozy, Soft Textures and Wool Carpets
Woven woolen blankets and throws, fabrics and soft rugs are the natural embodiment of cwtch along with thick socks, hot drinks and a warm fire. But it’s not really about products with a practical use; but rather magical objects that summon up feelings and emotions: of safety and solace, of comfort and calm.
This matters, because one of the biggest change in consumer habits in the last two years relates to how we spend our disposable income on experiences over possessions these days. Social media has turned individual experience and stories into social and cultural capital for your viewing, ready to be framed and hash tagged, inspiring others around the world. Consumers are always looking for stories – but they must be local and authentic. Companies that have stayed close to their roots are prospering, even in this shaky economic climate.
A perfect example of an item that embodies a feeling is a blanket.
Blankets have always had a symbolic meaning above and beyond their physical presence. They are always handed out after any disaster, any disruption of the norm as a source of comfort. If somebody is in shock, people reach for a blanket or something to cover them, to hide them or to comfort them. Blankets and throws have become synonymous with safety in the face of shock, uncertainty, and the darkness beyond.
At its best, the craze for cwtch could encourage a love of simplicity over expensive brands, a renewed focus on the social relations that really matter. At worst, it could boil down to us running up our card at Target buying candles and blankets.
Make it the former and cwtch-up this fall,