Once upon a time, fashion was complex, the more ostentatious the better but now it seems fashion has taken a sharp turn to the plain and simple. With the last of the major world fashion weeks of the season coming to a close with Sydney yesterday, there has been one noticeable emerging trend. Experts call it normcore.
This peculiar fashion movement is a conscious adoption of things that are mainstream, inoffensive and indeed a bit boring. Everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Diane Von Furstenburg showcased elements of the normcore style at fashion weeks the world over. I felt like I was seeing a dozen of my Auntie Noras parading down the catwalk. Even monarch of Chanel Karl Lagerfeld transformed his catwalk into a luxurious supermarket and sent the model of the moment Cara Delevingne manoeuvring a trolley down the aisle. How very normal.
The catchy term which was first coined by K-Hole, an uber-cool trend forecasting agency in Brooklyn has now truly been blasted into the national consciousness thanks to the internet. They believe the most different thing to do now is reject being different all together. I guess it makes sense, the truly cool having already mastered the distinct now attempt to master the sameness. I believe that normcore is for people who are heavily aware of their insignificance so instead of creating this individual façade of fashion they succumb to the standard look. They create their significance by what they do not how they look.
The general aesthetic of the look has been described as a bland anti-style. Key normcore pioneers include Apple chairman Steve Jobs, the cast of Seinfeld and Williamsburg based musician Blood Orange AKA Dev Hynes. High wasted suburban soccer mom jeans, flannel shirts, baseball caps, plain turtlenecks and off the rack t-shirts are all staples of the look.
The trend has been hailed as some sort of avant-garde phenomenon by the fashion world. Even Alain de Botton the English philosopher and television presenter praised the rising culture, believing we’ve hit upon the ideal of how to dress. He was quoted saying “style now doesn’t need to be constantly updated because it has latched onto the essence of what we’re trying to do”.
Personally, I am not convinced it is all that philosophical. The turn away from the over-dramatic style of designers like McQueen is most likely just due to it being too demanding. The fact that normcore has taken off so much is because it makes sense. It is primarily functional dressing and everyone likes being comfortable. I have recently begun to embrace the normcore trend, having purchased my first pair of the so called “mom jeans” a few weeks back. They have a distinct 90’s aesthetic to them and when I wear them I feel like I am about to collect my non-existent kids from their imaginary play date.
Alas, I am a firm believer that a non-trend is a trend nonetheless even if it’s masked in pure blandness. Something that is so devoted to being unfashionable is ironically prone to becoming hyped as fashionable. Normcore has a sell by date, like all other fashion trends. It’s possible that soon we will all be wearing space suits made of tin foil, it is the nature of the game.