Normcore: Why wearing bland basics is the newest fashion trend.

Normcore has gotten a lot of recent publicity on the web. In a matter of days, the term went from relative obscurity to one of the top searched phrases on the internet. For those catching on late, Normcore is the term used to describe a contemporary fashion trend where fashionable people consciously dress in what has traditionally been considered unfashionable, such as white sneakers, mom’s jeans and baseball caps. New York Magazine’s Fiona Duncan defined the trend as “self-aware, stylized blandness.”

The term was coined by a New York City creative trend forecasting collective K-Hole back in October, but did not get buzz until New York Magazine featured a story last month, upon which the fashion world dove head first into a month long series of debate and commentary. On the surface, Normcore appears to be incompatible with the fashion industry due to its rejection of eye-catching chic in favor of mediocrity and blandness. However, dressing like a Midwestern tourist in a city full of designer-clad individuals may actually be the most effective way to stand out.

 Normcore fashion

(image sourced via nymag)

While Normcore is being increasingly embraced by the fashion industry, which will likely turn into another prepackaged trend to be sold to the broader public, it is important to keep in mind the possibility of deeper sociological values attached to the phenomenon. After all, the overwhelming subversiveness of Normcore suggests it is quite ideological in nature.

One cannot help but notice that Normcore contradicts much of the aesthetic values dominating the past decade — an era in which young alternatives sought differentiation through increasingly loud, quirky and unconventional fashion statements. In such ‘mass indie times,’ as K-Hole terms it, the fashion avant-garde inevitably was forced to flee the fringes, looking towards the middle or average as the new fashion frontier.

 Normcore fashion clogs

(image sourced via heartifb)

To go even further, it could be argued that Normcore arose as a reaction against the overwhelming amount of fashion options available to us today. We live in an era with no discernable lasting trends, where the process of fashion has been sped up to previously unfathomable levels by retailers such as H&M and Forever 21, who can design, produce, display and sell a piece of clothing in less than two weeks. You can now buy clothing styles and cuts from all decades and eras, whether it be the 1980’s to two weeks ago, often times all in one store. When trend chasing becomes a mass activity, moving at an increasingly rapid rate, any innate sacredness that may have existed within fashion trends are at a lost.

Normcore fashion

(image sourced via meltyfashion)

It is likely that Normcore arose out of a desperate need for more simplicity and less options. We live in an era of information overload, where aesthetics mash together movements and trends from all eras in a dire attempt to discover originality. With such a surplus of competing style trends, Normcore seeks to reassess fashion through restraint in an attempt to possibly re-legitimize the power within style trends.