Fashion trends have almost always been about standing out from the crowd and doing what no one else is. But with everyone always trying to find the next new thing, maybe the best way to stand out in high fashion these days is by being normal.
Enter Normcore, a trend that swept the fashion industry in Spring 2014. It’s gained popularity, but many inside and outside of the industry seem to be confused by the whole thing.
What is Normcore?
Some people find the idea of an anti-fashion trend a bit contradictory but K-Hole, the New York trend agency who first came up with the term, says that people have got it wrong.
Style writer Jeremy Lewis summed up the inspiration behind the trend well: “Fashion has become very overwhelming and popular. Right now a lot of people use fashion as a means to buy rather than discover an identity and they end up obscured and defeated.”
To reject the possibility of fashion as a tool for posing as a certain type of person, one rejects the obviously fashionable in favor of something almost, in Lewis’s words, “conspicuously unpretentious, maybe even endearingly awkward.” Some say the inspiration comes from the Millennial generation, who grew up in the 90s and find comfort in the easy, nondescript clothes of the slacker and grunge decade.
Normcore in Practice
Who are we to complain if our everyday outfits suddenly make us fashionable and part of the ‘cool crowd’! Even Kate Middleton, a member of the British Royal family, has been nicknamed the Duchess of Normcore with her comfy and casual styles.
As the aim of Normcore is to blend in, typical staples include: jeans, cashmere sweaters, tracksuits, with socks with heels, skate shoes, khakis and polo necks, generic baseball hats, and fleece pullovers. Basically if you’re wearing clothes that middle-aged parents might have worn in the 90s, you can now consider yourself trendy.
However, you don’t have to buy your plain clothes from the thrift store or a discount department store to achieve this look. Normcore has spread to many high profile brands and designer names with top, luxurious designers like Valentino taking part.
Normcore Gone Designer
In fact, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Chanel catwalk by sending model Cara Delevingne out in sneakers and pushing a shopping cart. The basic clothes from Adidas, Birkenstocks and Crocs were widely worn during New York fashion week and international street brands such as Gap, and even Zara, are joining in with the plainer look.
The aesthetic has also been making its way onto the pages of high fashion magazines: Looks that combine Louis Vuitton with Adidas or Alexander McQueen and Nike. Even the likes of Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs have recently debuted simple, Patagonia-inspired jackets in recent menswear runway show.
It’s quite understandable if you’re a fashion lover who wants nothing to do with the trend. But for those who eschew fussy style and ever-changing trends, you can proudly go out in a plain cotton t-shirt, faded jeans and sneakers and say that you’re doing the Normcore thing.