Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Normcore? Really?

I’m quite sure that all of you, the readers of the blog, have heard about this new phenomenon called Normcore. The Internet has been full with posts, essays, etc. approaching the trend from different angles; the starting point was a New York Magazine article by Fiona Duncan.  The expression – created by K-Hole, a trend forecasting collective - went viral within hours.

I read the text on the same day it got published but I wanted to wait and calm down before I write a post about it because it obviously created a huge emotional storm in me. I don’t want to fill my article with swear words, so the worst adjective I will use is silly, but believe me, that doesn’t cover my feelings at all.

So, my opinion about this new trend is that it is silly. I agree with the trend forecasters that it became a trend to wear simple clothes but I don’t think that it’s because the “cool” people realized that it’s fine to be one among the 7 billion. It’s the exact opposite.

 from yahoo-photos

Fashion is one of those industries that gather the people who think highly about themselves. It’s a fact and I don’t think there’s a point in denying it. The core of fashion is to be different, to stand out; otherwise nobody will discover you as a kick-ass stylist or a designer if you do the same as any other person does; it’s basically your only job to create outfits that turn heads.

I have two theories how this paradox could have evolved. If you do a bit of a research on how those people who really have a say in what’s going on in fashion look like, you will see pictures of men and women wearing plain clothes, most probably black, and nothing outstanding. I remember watching an interview with the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia; she was asked why she is always wearing black or only one color per outfit. Her answer was something like, she is surrounded by beauty for such a great level that she can’t bear to wear it. (Of course, there are exceptions, such as Anna Dello Russo, but the majority of the big shots are always in simple clothes.)

Now, the industry is often being mocked by outsiders because of the hundreds of thousands of wannabes who think they invented fashion. (Just check out Jimmy Fallon’s Lie Witness News that he did during the New York Fashion Week last year. It’s hilarious.) I can only imagine these people who would consider normcore as a valid trend. I mean, who would NOT want to wear a 90s high-waited jeans that only fits the supermodels? Especially if one of the big brands design one for let’s say 1000 euros. It’s a bargain, really. But the point is that these folks desperately want to get into the inner circle where all the decisions are made (frankly, who can blame them?) and they realized that having something that’s shouting fashion in your face might not be the best way to get there. So they thought, okay, then let’s wear clothes like the big ones, and then they might notice me.
My other suggestion is that young people just ran out of ideas how to be different. I mean I understand it, everything that could have been invented, have been invented, all shocking techniques are old as time so the only way to be distinctive is to be similar. But the bad news is that it’s nothing new. It’s a made-up trend that uses elements from the past again.

I think that rich teenagers and young adults – the age group that this epidemic targets the most – feel generally bored and indifferent. They have all the money to spend from their parents yet they can’t buy anything that attracts their attention. So they turn to look for inspiration to the community that just doesn’t give a damn about what they are doing. And while the exact same members of society were mocked before because of their careless attitude, now they became the idols of the generation that ridiculed them just a couple of weeks ago. I could speculate on the psychological and sociological reasons behind this but I don’t know much about these fields so I don’t want to draw serious conclusions but my gut tells me that it has a lot to do with everybody being a star in this society. You upload a clip about your purse collection on Youtube and the next day you get 100 e-mails telling you how fascinating it is what you do. But there will always be people who don’t care about you (the idols of normcore), so you have to trick them to like you. And what can be a better tool for that than to create a star of them too?

I know that fashion trends come and go, nobody can like them all so I would be totally fine with this one. Let everyone be a part of this glamorous business, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. But my main problem with normcore is that it’s pretentious. You might say that what did I expect from an industry that’s built on changing who you are. And you would be completely right. The only problem is that this is pretentious so badly that it’s irritating. I mean, who do you think would look good in the afore-mentioned high-waisted 90s jeans? Supermodels, that’s who. Even if the cool kids will wear actual normal pieces of clothing that would fit everyone (e.g. a plain white tee) it’s from a super expensive premium brand and not from Target. And it shows, the quality I mean. So we arrived back again to the fact, that I’m better than you because I can afford something you can’t even though we are wearing garments that look the same.

To be honest, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. All 7 billion of us are different and everyone likes to feel special; and the biggest allure of fashion is its exclusivity. But it’s ostentatiously disgusting to pretend otherwise and laugh behind people’s back. If you are wearing jumpers with the famous YSL letters printed in size 800 then at least it’s honest that you think you are someone important.

I would like to finish with saying that in spite of all the negative thoughts I wrote about fashion in this post, I consider it the most fascinating industry and I can’t imagine working in any other sector. But I also believe that we don’t have to like everything that’s put in front of us. Putting someone or something on a pedestal shouldn’t be the main condition of being recognized in your field.

Or am I too naïve?


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