NORMCORE: IT’S OK TO BE NORMAL!

BY JAMIE BRETT

The fashion world has recently latched onto the phrase ‘Normcore’ artificially coined by New York Trend Agency K-Hole. At PYZINE, we’re interested in the significance of such a label as a response to a profound lack of youth tribal definition over the last decade. 

With the emergence of true internet tribes and communities, fashion tribes and nuances find themselves enshrouded in generalisation and chronic labelling. As trend experts and fashion journalists thirst frustratedly for a tangible genre, the chronic transference of alternative and popular culture leaves us nowhere the wiser 10 years after Emo and Grime.

At PYZINE we’ve written extensively about the importance of redefining outdated expectations of youth tribes, and delving deeper than the superficial in order to truly appreciate the talented contextualisation and intelligent innovation of todays online-driven youth.
Normcore is described as dressing in an entirely conventional manner, making no direct statement, and looking as nondescript as possible. In fact Normcore has become more than that, and flourished into a kind of post-alternative anti-style consisting of largely monochromatic garments - bomber jackets, black jeans, rain macs, and touching towards the irony spectrum, fishing hats and wellies. In essence, its dressing in a utilitarian sense. Nick Clegg was recently cited as a Normcore icon for us Brits. Its a natural coherence that’s been noticed by fashion experts and subsequently mimicked by high profile fashionistas. Its interesting that the term ‘core’ is used as this was largely a key part of Emo’s micro-tribe lexicon (emocore, screamocore etc) which really just means hardcore. Emo was meant to be an anti-style which ended up being quite the opposite. Could Normcore be the true anti-style?

Normcore hasn’t come without its controversy. K-Hole agency recently posted the words penned by LA Journalist Christopher Glazek as a mass correction to all the misappropriators:
"Normcore means you pursue every activity like you’re a fanatic of the form. It doesn’t really make sense to identify normcore as a fashion trend – the point of normcore is that you could dress like a NASCAR mascot for a big race and then switch to raver ware for a long druggy night at the club. It’s about infinitely flexible, sunny appropriation"

Whilst Glazek and K-Hole entirely dismiss Normcore as a fashion statement but as a philosophical manifesto for relentless confidence and an almost comedic sense of reinvention and social chameleonism, we can’t deny a worldwide insatiable thirst for a fashion Normcore - and despite being publicly denounced, cannot be denied as a real, re-appropriated ideal despite being far-fetched from K-Hole’s stout definition. According to K-Hole, we think the normcore idol would basically be the king of lad, The Big Lebowski:

Is this entirely accurate to Normcore in reality? No.
Could normcore be a defeatist and lacklustre acceptance of the boring or is it a fascinating, liberating, and semantic anti-style fueled by a rebellious ethos and an indifference to a media surveillance, detail obsessed culture?

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©Ali Winstanley/PYMCA

©Ali Winstanley/PYMCA