#Normcore: Is Anonymous The New Fashion Movement?


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For those who realize they’re one in 7 Billion…#Normcore…seriously though if you haven’t heard, this is a thing now. Here’s what you need to know:

It’s the fashion trend that ends all fashion trends. (Bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not so far fetched.) The new hipster, the new indie and the style we have always had but never gave credit to: The Friday at home outfit, the laundry day ensemble, basically the lazy day pajamas are apparently “In” now. Yeah. I’m really confused too.

The idea is to basically, wear anything from New Balance shoes, Crocs, souvenir caps, plain tees and mom-jeans. Of course, it only works if you’re doing it on purpose: that’s the proposed “Normcore” aesthetic. The new thing is the anti-trend that includes a mix of sport, active, casual and ready-to-wear brands. In fashion, though, this manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes. Mall clothes. Blank clothes. Not a positive connotation I can assure you.

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This new style surrounds the notion of anonymous, detail-free design. It’s a barely audible style that suggests ingrained authority and inner confidence. Basically the new hipster. In short: it’s a trend of young teens who dress like bland ’90s-era dads. The new Sienfeld, the new Steve Jobs with his black long sleeve turtleneck and jeans.

Quite naturally, the question “Why!?” arises when you first hear about this odd new anti-trend. My take with it is that it’s all about irony and frankly…I’m so over irony. I’m embarrassed of the fact that people my age think that it is witty or somehow genius with their new quiet style-revolt, revolution or whatever they call it. You’ll probably hear them say “Isn’t it ironic that I’m wearing something that you’re supposed to think is ugly but I still think I’m cool and because of this I think I look cool?!”
Why can’t people just be their genuine true selves? Since trends are always passing nonstop, it’s sometimes hard for someone to develop a style and simply give up. So, Normcore comes in to save their pride, as an anti-style excuse to be lazy. Call them “Ego-Protecters” or such…

For others however, they have the desire to fit in rather than stand out. It’s different for everyone. The general attitude being embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.”

But the team behind the term believe that it’s been misunderstood and misappropriated by the fashion press. K-Hole’s (a company that spots upcoming trends) co-founder Emily Segal explains the thinking behind this hyper-normalised styling: “There’s an exhaustion with trying to seem different. People are genuinely tired by the fact that to achieve status you need to be different from everyone else around you.” Honestly, I think we can all see her point. Fast fashion and the retailer’s ever-growing ability to track trends from street to runway and back again means subcultures can barely exist beyond the brands. Emily Segal insists that normcore isn’t about one specific aesthetic. “It’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass,” she explains. Rather, it’s about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people—and “seeing that as an opportunity for connection, instead of as evidence that your identity has dissolved.”

So, Normcore isn’t about rebelling against or giving into the status quo? Supposedly it’s about letting go of the need to look distinctive, to make time for something new.
Why is normcore a thing? It seems to be a way for people to counteract stereotypes by dressing mundanely in order to stand out. Theories abound regarding why millennials are attracted to the trend, but the prevailing theory suggests that it’s a way for them to reject the idea of “buying in” to a particular style.
Basically, anything that will allow you to stand out by looking anonymous.

Even before Karl Lagerfeld would transformed the Chanel catwalk into a super chic supermarket (how normcore is that?), and sent a Cara Delevingne down the aisles in distressed joggers and trainers, shopping cart and all, fashion editors were wearing their own version of the look. Call it the Celine-effect, the “just a phase” trend, but today’s serious chic translates (in the Vogue office anyway) as a well-considered line of T-shirts, denim or tailored trousers, cashmere sweaters and skate shoes – the plainer the better. This is the modern high-end pedestrian dressing.

I for one am not so impressed with this new “I don’t care enough to dress well, so I just won’t try” look. Fortunately others agree with this statement. One of which was Kate Phelan (Vogue fashion director/Topshop creative director), whose own wardrobe is ironically a Normcore consisting of pea coats in basic colors, jeans and crisp, simple pieces. She says: “When I first started going to shows I’d see people in head-to-toe looks. Over the years that eroded, but now the resurgence of fashion groupies who wear a mish-mashed ‘look at me’ style has forced a restraint in the industry.” “It’s important to celebrate individuality – that’s what British fashion is all about. Trying to look normal takes away the thrill of the new and the excitement of shopping. But even if you put everyone in the same denim and sneakers, their personality shines through.”

Despite all of the backlash to this new change in fashion, Normcore was a long time coming, and was bound to happen one day. In a way, people are creating a message that says “We give up” or “We can no longer stand out”.
You can basically start calling it the final fashion frontier which is basically dressing like an…anonymous nobody. It’s incredibly sad, but is this true? In the fashion world is this considered chic simplicity or minimalism? Is it perhaps futuristic and…was it bound to happen someday? Really, when I think about it: We have to constantly go through new trends and styles every 6 months for fashion seasons…is it that maybe people are giving up because fashion is ever changing? Or perhaps it’s because we exhausted every clothing item there is?

No one really can predict new trends, bit this one quietly snuck up on everyone, as it was already there…it’s just a thing (italics) now…So, wether you agree with this new trend or not: I leave you with this photo of a true Normcor-er:

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10 thoughts on “#Normcore: Is Anonymous The New Fashion Movement?

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say here! As someone who likes dressing up, I’m not a big fan of this “don’t care” attitude that so many are cottoning-on to, it’s just an excuse for laziness and sloppy dressing. Hopefully a lot of people start dressing well again when they see pictures of themselves looking bad, but until then I think I’ll keep dressing as I always did. Great post!

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