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Monday, June 24, 2024
Graphic by Aubrey Bocalan
Graphic by Aubrey Bocalan

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a force of change across the globe, bringing about new health standards, new work atmospheres and new hobbies. 

Thursday marks one year since COVID-19 shut down UF’s campus. Shortly after, county and state-wide stay-at-home orders ensued. As residents adapted to the early aughts of the pandemic, much of the nation united in participating in lockdown trends. 

Stuck at home, people spent more time in the kitchen baking bread and making the TikTok famous dalgona, or “whipped,” coffee. Classic pastimes like jigsaw puzzles rose in popularity alongside newer games like Animal Crossing and Among Us. Netflix’s Tiger King dominated the conversation, and TikTok influencers danced across nearly every screen.

For many, taking up new hobbies was a way of reducing stress and decreasing anxiety during otherwise overwhelming times. Reflecting on the past year, the Avenue staff compiled a list of some of their favorite trends created while we were all alone together. 

Work from home fashion

As work transitioned out of the office and onto the kitchen table, companies across industries scrambled to market work-from-home products. The fashion industry debuted “work-from-home chic” and pushed leisure clothing as consumers jumped at the chance to exchange office attire with pajamas and sweatpants. 

By May, pajama sales had increased by about 143%, according to Adobe Analytics market research. Meanwhile, pants sales were down by 13%, indicating a clear trend toward comfort and leisure clothing. A professional top with sweatpants or leggings became a staple outfit for Zoom meetings or classes. 

Comfort, however, was not the only goal people had in mind when getting dressed for the day.

Michelle Komisarchik, a 21-year-old UF political science and criminology junior, said she continued to dress for productivity amid the pandemic. 

“Usually when I have a big day ahead of me, and I want to feel productive, I put on an outfit that will make me feel that way,” Komisarchik said. “I'll walk out of my room in a dress and a sweater or mom jeans or something like that, that might not be the most comfortable, but it kind of makes me feel mentally ready for the day.” 

While she also had her fair share of sweatpant days, she said dressing for productivity provided a sense of continuity during the pandemic. 

For many, expressing individuality is a central function of fashion and style. Komisarchik said she believes the pandemic has given people the opportunity to experiment with how they express themselves through fashion. 

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“I feel like trying to find new ways to do that can be refreshing in a time where your days are so monotonous,” she said.

Baking Bread 

Left with no routine and time to kill, baking bread became a popular hobby — even for those who had never before experimented with loaves from anywhere beyond grocery store shelves. 

Initially, the activity stemmed from necessity. Along with their stockpiles of toilet paper rolls and Clorox wipes, anxious shoppers hoarded loaves of bread, forcing others to take matters into their own floured hands. Once dry yeast also flew off the shelves, interest in sourdough bread boomed. 

The trend eventually took an economic toll, with King Arthur flour sales rising more than 2000% in March. By the end of the month, flour had disappeared from grocery stores and the Internet. 

Julianne Owen, a 19-year-old UF aerospace engineering major, got involved in the hunt for King Arthur flour. After her mom snatched one of the last bags from her local grocery store, Owen said she hopped on the bandwagon and made a loaf. 

“I wanted to pick up a new hobby,” she said. “I had more free time than I’ve ever had before — I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Owen said she took up the activity around early June after her parents started trying out bread recipes they read online. After experimenting with different recipes, she stumbled across one for French bread that became her favorite. The loaf became a staple around the house, she said. 

“I baked 22 loaves of bread in 22 days,” Owen said. “It was a good way to take my mind off the stress of the pandemic.”

Even though COVID-19 restrictions have loosened, Owen said she’s still kneading dough every time she goes home — and occasionally in her dorm kitchen. 

TikTok Dances

Social video sharing app TikTok has quickly become one of the favored social media platforms of Gen Z users. A hallmark of the app is TikTok dances, in which “influencers” with large followings and the everyday user alike post videos of themselves performing short dance routines to different trending songs. 

Mackenzie Kurth, a 20-year-old UF advertising sophomore, said TikTok dances were one of the trends she picked up over the last year.

“I’m a semi-retired competitive dancer, so learning simple dances on a social media app was fun for me,” she said.

Kurth said two of her favorite dances from her quarantine days were to the songs “Supalonely” by Benee and “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion. The “Supalonely” dance was created by TikToker Zoi Lerma, and the “Savage” dance was created by Keara Wilson.

Kurth said the simplicity of TikTok dances is what allowed users to hop on dance trends, and while the choreography of these dances has evolved, she continues to learn them.

“I don’t know how I would’ve managed without TikTok during the stress that came with the peak of quarantine.”

Contact Valeriya Antonshchuk at Follow her on Twitter @VAntonshchuk.

Contact Kristin Bausch at Follow her on Twitter @BauschKristin.

Contact Veronica Nocera at Follow her on Twitter @vernocera.

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Veronica Nocera

Veronica Nocera is a third-year journalism major, history minor and The Avenue editor. She spent two semesters reporting arts and culture for The Alligator and also writes for Rowdy Magazine. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, journaling or taping random pictures to her wall. Also, she’ll probably be wearing yellow. 

Kristin Bausch

Kristin Bausch is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida and a staff writer with the Avenue. Giving people an opportunity to share their story is one of her favorite things about writing. When not writing, she’s probably dancing.

Valeriya Antonshchuk

Valeriya Antonshchuk is a junior telecommunication-news and political science student at the University of Florida. As a news assistant for the Avenue, Valeriya covers Gainesville's entertainment and culture news weekly. Valeriya was originally born in Ukraine and speaks fluent Russian. 

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