The early 2000s witnessed the arrival of attention-grabbers.
Fashion runways tortured women with five-inch heels (remember Alexander McQueen’s torturous heelless shoes from Fall 2012?), wild prints and bold accessories.
Beauty trends are about glitter, eye shadow, high shine, edgy bobs, super tan skin and big hair (no offense meant, Queen B). “Statement,” the experts called them.
But avid magazine and newspaper readers are tired of this BS. Thought leaders say one factor that brought about this movement is the world population hitting 7 billion in 2011.
Catalyzed by the noise that is social media, we all clamor to not be forgotten. People take selfies in an attempt to win a double take from society, as if saying, “I am one of a kind! I am not like everyone else!”
In response, a New York-based trend forecasting group coined the word “normcore,” a social movement that indicates the mass indie’s response to this age’s burgeoning interwoven communities.
A 2014 report “Youth Mode” called it “The New World Order of Blankness,” of which the rationale states: “Once upon a time people were born into communities and had to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals and have to find their communities.”
In essence, the report is saying that in a world with a population of 7 billion, it is an indignity to pretend to be above trying to belong.
Adaptability, not exclusivity, is the new cool: Birkenstocks over high heels, Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks, and a clean, smooth face over heavy makeup.
Fashion essentials include double denim, white sneakers, short-sleeve shirts, plain colors and unisex silhouettes. They are easy to wear and affordable.
Not to be confused with minimalism which emphasizes fabric and construction over explicit branding, normcore upholds that style is making everyone look super normal, hence, the same.
But honestly, normcore is one big, superfluous self-contradiction. First off, it is a contraction of the words “normal” and “hardcore,” which confuses me. Are we normal, or are we hardcore?
Second, has the world become so nauseated with the voracity of style choices that today’s cool is now looking “super normal?”
In the words of Barney’s Simon Doonan, in an era that champions bespoke, unique and quirky, it is the biggest fashion frontier to dress like an anonymous nobody.
It completely goes against those who see style and fashion as something fun, as a mode of self-expression.
And finally, does anybody realize that normcore is offensive? Normcore, disguised by a false approachability, fetishes dressing simply when a majority of the world’s 7 billion dress in a way not to look stylish, but because that’s all they can afford, or because they simply just choose to dress that way.
So, for the sake of the fashion-forward, and political correctness for that matter, let’s stop calling normcore a thing. It is a lazy excuse for failing to express yourself.
It’s best to completely ignore the n-word and dress simply because you choose to. Go for sneakers instead of heels because it’s comfortable; don’t drink expensive coffee because it’s practical; and go easy on the makeup because you believe that you don’t need that much.
The New York Times made it official a couple of weeks ago and called today’s youth “Generation Nice,” in which social responsibility, honesty and transparency, and gritty stories of the ordinary chunk of society—a la Humans of New York—are greatly appreciated.
Let me disagree with K-Hole and say that the New World Order isn’t blankness, but genuineness. This transcends from the mediocre fad of looking anonymous to allowing people to see your imperfections and quirks.
On one hand, the individuals of this generation prefer to see your freckles, or how short you are with only sneakers on.
On the other hand, you can go for “statement,” wear color when you want to, and dress to stand out when you feel like it, because people will admire your sense of self-expression.
The new cool isn’t a dilemma between being one-of-a-kind or being anonymous, but instead, a natural acceptance of everyone’s own differences.