Fashion can seem frivolous (and often that’s part of the fun) but I am always reminded of it’s ability to signpost social and psychological trends before any academic or overpaid marketing guru whenever the latest season launches. It seem’s like all the designers are of the one mind regarding the mood and style they want to convey. It’s all the same conversation – the same social commentary. This year for the brand giants like Chanel, Anya H and Moschino that commentary follows the desperate attempts to react normcore.
Normcore is emerging from the idea that over the last few years we’ve all desperately struggled to prove ourselves as unique… and in those efforts have all become the same. The be-speckled hipster, the ‘OTT’ mustache, that dress that ‘oh I just picked up in this tiny vintage store’, the reclaimed industrial lightbulbs in your (un)friendly local pop-up store… Snore. Our painful efforts to appear authentic, due to the very fact that they are efforts, have led to our sameness. No we don’t have ‘Juicy’ slapped across our arses or LV stamped on all our oversized handbags like the glorious Celtic Tiger days, but our sameness is sameness just the same. The labels are still there, just smaller. And as I’m sure the suit designers of Ted Baker will tell you, the devil is in the detail.
It’s a unique trend in that it is wholly global from the get go – because it’s being lead by the young online global community. From the non-descript polo-necks and hoodies of the Californian tech world to the street style of young Asian and Eastern kids with more money than they literally know what to do with, it’s an almost anti-fashion fashion trend that is encroaching from all sides. This online community (which you are most likely a part of seen as how you are reading, some obscure blog on WordPress) have seen it all already. The vintage dress, the tired industrial look, cronuts, terrariums, stuffed animals in party hats… whatever. They are tired of the idea before it even gets here. And I for one agree. Even my fave ‘edgier’ ‘unique’ websites such as Etsy and Not Off the Highstreet are beginning to loose their gloss. There is undoubtably something very… samey about all the stuff you click through.
Of course this all means bad news for marketers. And I’m afraid it’s going to mean a further detachment from youth markets and brands as the processes in which brands react and engage become relatively stone-age when it comes to reaction timings. Sorry, marketing hat off again…
So what happens to ‘authenticity’ seekers post-authenticity? They opt for sameness. That’s what normcore is. It isn’t about being unique. It’s not about the ‘badge status’ that every brand boasts about or at the very least, ultimately aims for on it’s ascension into coolness. It’s being called ‘post-aspirational’. But lets face it, human nature is rooted in aspiration. The difference, as I see it, is that how your want people to view you, your social status and your uniqueness are in a tweet, a blog post, a vine, what you read (don’t forget to tell everyone), how you spend your time (and share it). It’s more ‘shelfie’, less ‘selfie’.
And I’m backing it as a trend that will stick, for a very, very long time.
Next blog: Sci-fi and style. Why our depictions of the future are more accurate than you may think.