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29-08-2014
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"Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion"
Article from THE CUT/ NYMag

TRENDS | Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion

By Fiona Duncan | February 26, 2014 8:00 a.m.


source: twitter


By late 2013, it wasn’t uncommon to spot the Downtown chicks you’d expect to have closets full of Acne and Isabel Marant wearing nondescript half-zip pullovers and anonymous denim. Magazines, too, had picked up the look. T noted the “enduring appeal of the Patagonia fleece” as displayed on Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs’s runways. Edie Campbell slid into Birkenstocks (or the Céline version thereof) in Vogue Paris. Adidas trackies layered under Louis Vuitton cashmere in Self Service. A bucket hat and Nike slippers framed an Alexander McQueen coveralls in Twin. Smaller, younger magazines like London’s Hot and Cool and New York’s Sex and Garmento, were interested in even more genuinely average ensembles, skipping high-low blends for the purity of head-to-toe normcore.

Jeremy Lewis, the founder/editor of Garmento and a freelance stylist and fashion writer, calls normcore “one facet of a growing anti-fashion sentiment.” His personal style is (in the words of Andre Walker, a designer Lewis featured in the magazine’s last issue) “exhaustingly plain”—this winter, that’s meant a North Face fleece, khakis, and New Balances. Lewis says his “look of nothing” is about absolving oneself from fashion, “lest it mark you as a mindless sheep.”[/IMG]

Sometime last summer I realized that, from behind, I could no longer tell if my fellow Soho pedestrians were art kids or middle-aged, middle-American tourists. Clad in stonewash jeans, fleece, and comfortable sneakers, both types looked like they might’ve just stepped off an R-train after shopping in Times Square. When I texted my friend Brad (an artist whose summer uniform consisted of Adidas barefoot trainers, mesh shorts and plain cotton tees) for his take on the latest urban camouflage, I got an immediate reply: “lol normcore.”

Normcore—it was funny, but it also effectively captured the self-aware, stylized blandness I’d been noticing. Brad’s source for the term was the trend forecasting collective (and fellow artists) K-Hole. They had been using it in a slightly different sense, not to describe a particular look but a general attitude: embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.” In fashion, though, this manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes. Mall clothes. Blank clothes. The kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld, but transposed on a Cooper Union student with William Gibson glasses.

At first, I spotted just occasional forays into normcore: the rare cool kid wearing clothes as lukewarm as the last sips of deli coffee—mock turtlenecks with Tevas and Patagonia windbreakers; Uniqlo khakis with New Balance sneakers or Crocs and souvenir-stand baseball caps.The look also cropped up on my social-media feeds, on Internet "It" kids’ Instagrams and Tumblrs. Internet-inspired artist Jeanette Hayes (who’s created work on behalf of Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang) was layering white athletic socks with strappy stilettos, and posing for selfies in a Yankees cap and juniors-department denim. VFILES host and casting director Preston Chaunsumlit wore white nurse clogs for several seasons running. And Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange amassed a collection of off-brand New York ball caps, which he paired with turtlenecks, sweatpants, and boxy jeans. Showing up for an interview with Fader at the Empire State Building, Hynes looked, wrote the reporter, “like a tourist.”

By late 2013, it wasn’t uncommon to spot the Downtown chicks you’d expect to have closets full of Acne and Isabel Marant wearing nondescript half-zip pullovers and anonymous denim. Magazines, too, had picked up the look. T noted the “enduring appeal of the Patagonia fleece” as displayed on Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs’s runways. Edie Campbell slid into Birkenstocks (or the Céline version thereof) in Vogue Paris. Adidas trackies layered under Louis Vuitton cashmere in Self Service. A bucket hat and Nike slippers framed an Alexander McQueen coveralls in Twin. Smaller, younger magazines like London’s Hot and Cool and New York’s Sex and Garmento, were interested in even more genuinely average ensembles, skipping high-low blends for the purity of head-to-toe normcore.

Jeremy Lewis, the founder/editor of Garmento and a freelance stylist and fashion writer, calls normcore “one facet of a growing anti-fashion sentiment.” His personal style is (in the words of Andre Walker, a designer Lewis featured in the magazine’s last issue) “exhaustingly plain”—this winter, that’s meant a North Face fleece, khakis, and New Balances. Lewis says his “look of nothing” is about absolving oneself from fashion, “lest it mark you as a mindless sheep.”


From Novembre magazine

source:nymag

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29-08-2014
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Normcore cont


“Fashion has become very overwhelming and popular,” Lewis explains. “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. I'm getting cues from people like Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld. It's a very flat look, conspicuously unpretentious, maybe even endearingly awkward. It's a lot of cliché style taboos, but it's not the irony I love, it's rather practical and no-nonsense, which to me, right now, seems sexy. I like the idea that one doesn't need their clothes to make a statement.”

One of the first stylists I started bookmarking for her normcore looks was the London-based Alice Goddard. She was assembling this new mainstream minimalism in the magazine she co-founded, Hot and Cool, as early as 2011. For Goddard, the appeal of normal clothes was the latest thing: “Styling is about showing different types of clothing in a new way,” she says, “which normally means taking something—an item, a character or an idea—that I find kind of ugly and gross, and making it good.”

Goddard’s initial interest in normcore was in part a reaction to the fashion status quo. One standout editorial from Hot and Cool no. 5 (Spring 2013) was composed entirely of screenshots of people from Google Map’s Street View app. Goddard had stumbled upon “this tiny town in America” on Mapsand thought the plainly-dressed people there looked amazing. The editorial she designed was a parody of contemporary street style photography—“the main point of difference,” she says, “being that people who are photographed by street style photographers are generally people who have made a huge effort with their clothing, and the resulting images often feel a bit over fussed and over precious—the subject is completely aware of the outcome; whereas the people we were finding on Google Maps obviously had no idea they were being photographed, and yet their outfits were, to me, more interesting.”


From Hot & Cool magazine.

source: nymag


The Internet is where all conversation about normcore seems to converge. New media has changed our relation to information, and, with it, fashion. Reverse Google Image Search and tools like Polyvore make discovering the source of any garment as simple as a few clicks. Online shopping—from eBay through the Outnet—makes each season available for resale almost as soon as it goes on sale. As Natasha Stagg, the Online Editor of V Magazine and a regular contributor at DIS (where she recently wrote a normcore-esque essay about the queer appropriation of mall favorite Abercrombie & Fitch), put it: “Everyone is a researcher and a statistician now, knowing accidentally the popularity of every image they are presented with, and what gets its own life as a trend or meme.” The cycles of fashion are so fast and so vast, it’s impossible to stay current; in fact, there is no one current.

Emily Segal of K-HOLE insists that normcore isn’t about one specific aesthetic. “It’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass,” she explains. Rather, it’s about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people—and “seeing that as an opportunity for connection, instead of as evidence that your identity has dissolved.”


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29-08-2014
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Normcore cont


K-HOLE describes normcore as a theory rather than a look; but in practice, the contemporary normcore styles I’ve seen have their clear aesthetic precedent in the nineties. The editorials in Hot and Cool look a lot like Corinne Day styling newcomer Kate Moss in Birkenstocks in 1990, or like Art Club 2000's appropriation of madras from the Gap, like grunge-lite and Calvin Klein minimalism. But while (in their original incarnation) those styles reflected anxiety around “selling out,” today’s version is more ambivalent toward its market reality. Normcore isn’t about rebelling against or giving into the status quo; it’s about letting go of the need to look distinctive, to make time for something new.

The demographic leading the normcore trend is, by and large, Western Millennials and digital natives. Stylist-editors like Hot and Cool’s Alice Goddard and Garmento’s Jeremy Lewis are children of the nineties, teens of the aughts. The aesthetic return to styles they would’ve worn as kids reads like a reset button—going back to a time before adolescence, before we learned to differentiate identity through dress. The Internet and globalization have challenged the myth of individuality (we are all one in 7 billion), while making connecting with others easier than ever. Normcore is a blank slate and open mind—it’s a look designed to play well with others.


*This is an expanded version of an article that ran in the February 24, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.


Here is the article in full as it appeared on nymag.com

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29-08-2014
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Thanks to GAP's newly hired ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, we can now look forward to more noxious "normal" catchphrase spin-offs such as the ever popular "the new normal".


I find it odd but not that surprising how much of mainstream media has neglected to mention that the corporate retailer selected the quintessentially 90s grunge era photographer Glen Luchford to shoot the GAP "Dress Normal" campaign print ads. David Fincher did shoot the commercials.
Quote:
Quirky celebs line up for Gap's 'Dress Normal' campaign


By James Swift, campaignlive.co.uk, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:39AM

Anjelica Huston and other celebrities known for having a comfortable and unique style form the backbone of Gap's autumn campaign.


Jena Malone shot by Glen Luchford

source: campaignlive .co.uk

The print campaign, which was developed in conjunction with Wieden & Kennedy New York and launches on 2 September, is called "dress normal". It embodies Gap’s message that people should create their own personal style.

In addition to Huston, the star of The Addams Family and The Royal Tennenbaums, other celebrities featured in the campaign include Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss, Boardwalk Empire’s Michael K Williams, Girls’ Zosia Mamet, and Jena Malone, who started in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

More celebrity endorsements will be unveiled after the September launch.

The print ads, which were shot by Glen Luchford, will run in the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy and Japan, as well as other international markets. Gap is also planning a TV ad as part of the "dress normal" campaign.

Seth Farbman, the global chief marketing officer at Gap, said: "Finding your own version of ‘dress normal’ is an art – my normal is different from your normal, and that’s the essence of the campaign.

"This fall, Gap celebrates dressing for yourself and finding those perfect items – a pair of jeans, a T-shirt – that make you feel confident to be your most authentic self."
source: campaignlive .co.uk

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30-08-2014
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"Normcore" is thoroughly confusing... It seems like any hipster dressed like the average person in the early nineties is "normcore," as are people who aren't dressed like they live only to be photographed by street style photographers. Like, is Phoebe Philo normcore? She looks very different from the scraggly-haired Jerry Seinfeld-inspired hipsters but seems to fit the wide description of normcore!

Is the girl in the Gap ad dressed "normcore?" She looks very modern to me.

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30-08-2014
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I believe that normcore is quite an interesting trend and also a accurate sign of the times. It's anti fashion while adhering to fashion as it is another way of conforming to a trend even if it means rejecting another one.

I think that it has become popular recently as people have grown tired of constantly wearing new trends and attempting to stand out with their outfit choices and have opted for a simpler and more comfortable way to dress. It's also like saying that you can look good with minimal effort and do not need to 'try hard' in order to look stylish. I guess it's just a direct reaction to fast fashion and endless new trends.
Tali x

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31-08-2014
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I'm curious why this community has been so slow to talk about a trend that has been brewing for over a year now.

Any fashion trend that prioritizes comfortable clothes should be welcomed I say. Also it should be noted that because this trend is so broad and theoretically can capture almost anything peoples interpretations of normcore will vastly differ.

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31-08-2014
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I can't help but wonder if Normcore is a reaction to having all trends available to purchase at all times. The internet can have a way of making the fashion world feel very small - once upon a time I'd have to wait for an item to be in-trend and therefore in shops so that I could purchase it (which could take years). Not only does technology now negate that issue, it also shows me exactly how many people have my directional Zara Balenciaga knockoff/'quirky' specs/hi-lo style. It's can be hard to feel unique these days, so why bother? Attempting to look like you aren't really trying is a statement in itself.

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31-08-2014
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Quote:
I'm curious why this community has been so slow to talk about a trend that has been brewing for over a year now.
Actually, it's been not even a year. Since K-Hole Trend report about Youth Mode was for the Fall 2013.

Normcore had nothing to do Fashion in the beginning. It's more of a social trend/sociology analysis. "Normcore" means you don't try to be the "special kind" anylonger, because you know the "norm" (or normal) doesn't really exist. You are not concerned by "genuine/autenthicity" (ie, it is not because you hate this or that, today, that you won't like tomorrow). Our tastes, the trends, our choices may be only temporary, and normcore knows that ....

ok since i think i'm getting lost in translation, i advice to read their report. If i remember it's available to anyone. and why not read their old reports, as well.


actually i'm writing because i would love to see more of this editorial with images from google map views. it is genius !!!!! (i like everything related to this website, like the tumblr with views taken from google map)
Quote:
Goddard’s initial interest in normcore was in part a reaction to the fashion status quo. One standout editorial from Hot and Cool no. 5 (Spring 2013) was composed entirely of screenshots of people from Google Map’s Street View app. Goddard had stumbled upon “this tiny town in America” on Mapsand thought the plainly-dressed people there looked amazing. The editorial she designed was a parody of contemporary street style photography—“the main point of difference,” she says, “being that people who are photographed by street style photographers are generally people who have made a huge effort with their clothing, and the resulting images often feel a bit over fussed and over precious—the subject is completely aware of the outcome; whereas the people we were finding on Google Maps obviously had no idea they were being photographed, and yet their outfits were, to me, more interesting.”
if someone has the issue and might want to share, plz. I only found that (http://fifidunks.tumblr.com/post/741...-from-hot-cool) is there more ?

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31-08-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerlinRocks View Post
Actually, it's been not even a year. Since K-Hole Trend report about Youth Mode was for the Fall 2013.

... i advice to read their report. If i remember it's available to anyone. and why not read their old reports, as well.
Yep, it's on the khole site: khole.net It's the one called "Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom".

And you are right, it was not conceived as a fashion trend but as a philosophy or mindset. It is interesting reading, IMO.

The way it has been (liberally, as de minimis said) applied to fashion, it's more confusing because:
  • It is greatly subject to interpretation. Even in the global internet world, there are regional styles.
  • It is impossible to distinguish someone who has completely stripped themselves of fashion signifiers from someone who never noticed them in the first place. There cannot be a recognizable normcore style in this case.
  • If you keep one of your fashion signifiers, stylish glasses, nice haircut, well-cut shirt, then you are just looking ironic in your shower slides, so it's just updated hipster.

When I first read about normcore in the fashion sense, I thought it was an anti-fashion movement reminiscent of grunge, but the more I've learned, the more I've come to see it as a vague dissatisfaction with styles/trends but nowhere to hang the hat, as it were. There is no there there.

Will we never throw off the tyranny of hipsterism?

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01-09-2014
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but yet ultimately they're still trying to look a certain way. i call b/s on this. sorry. also,the philosophy isn't entirely that different from the anti-fashion movement the only difference is,it was an actual philosophy that helped shift social codes and industry ideals. i can't see what this is doing but creating another vapid,pretentious hipster movement.

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01-09-2014
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Well the thing is that being normcore is not being like mainstream, or normal, or just dressing like Seinfeld or Steve Jobs (that is a costume), or being anti-fashion.
To be sincere, I think we (at least I) kind of act normcore in a way sometimes ... It's living the present as a ... how can you say that ... as a pure tourist of life - I used to love doing this. Like they say in their report, you know nothing about football but if you go to a game, you're going to dive into it (dress as a fan, act as a fan etc.) ... It really has nothing to do with fashion, but more as a lifestyle or your personality.

Not that I think normcore is the new dope, or something. But I really think there's been some misinterpretations here.
Actually as the neologism says itself it is to live the norm (of a situation) to its extreme side.

And as the Goodard woman says, when you say you shoot "streetstyle", well show the real streetstyle, and not only the one you see outside/inside the catwalks.


Last edited by BerlinRocks; 01-09-2014 at 12:38 AM.
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01-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott View Post
but yet ultimately they're still trying to look a certain way. i call b/s on this. sorry. also,the philosophy isn't entirely that different from the anti-fashion movement the only difference is,it was an actual philosophy that helped shift social codes and industry ideals. i can't see what this is doing but creating another vapid,pretentious hipster movement.
Yeah I agree with this.

Also tangerine's point is interesting and I think this is the crux of the matter, I'm not sure I agree:

Quote:
It is impossible to distinguish someone who has completely stripped themselves of fashion signifiers from someone who never noticed them in the first place. There cannot be a recognizable normcore style in this case.
I mean, anti-fashion is STILL fashion. A fashion-conscious person who's taking a "break" or trying to look normal and nondescript will still not look like a real IT nerd who never understood fashion in the first place, even if the items may be the same. And a teenage normcore/hipster who dresses in early 90's fashion is already immediately distinguishable from a woman in her 50's wearing her old clothes. Because those peeps have completely different criteria for choosing clothes and styling them...which I have nothing against one way or another, but it's still not truly non-fashion in the real sense.

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01-09-2014
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Yeah. Me neither I don't know/understand how this was transcribed into Fashion, as a "movement" or "trend". Normcore is not dressing as an IT Nerd (unless you work in IT).
But Anti-Fashion is actually the opposite of what I've understood from Normcore.

What I know from Anti-Fashion (from its early days with the couple Yamamoto+Kawakubo, through Margiela, grunge and Minimalism) is to get rid of trends, get rid of the glamour, the Western tradition of Fashion, the folklore and reinvent from zero. Anti-Fashion has been eaten, chewed and digested already in the late 90s-early 00s. Anti-Fashion has become one of the norms.

Once again Normcore doesn't want to be different (since in nowadays' society being different has become one of the norms - and the main one), but actually accepts/adapts with the wind, the atmosphere and the trend. You are a mutant, a chameleon, and you accept the paradox of life.

Seriously, as said tangerine, read the report. It is interesting, really.

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01-09-2014
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Something that could help to understand the term coined by K-Hole

Quote:
Each forecast revolves around a central theme, an attempt to build a new conceptual model for brand awareness or technological innovation. Synthesis is the name of the game for K-Hole: every issue introduces a string of portmanteaus that successfully walk the fine line between blunt parody and genuine identification. ProLASTination, FragMOREtation, FLATmentation: this is the lexicon of dickheads, yet the carefully produced portfolio of case studies that make up the bulk of each document build each tongue-in-cheek neologism into a more thoughtful model for understanding cultural phenomena and fluid consumer subjectivities as they exist today. The level of cultural literacy and critical engagement with their audience separates the trend forecast produced within the context of contemporary art from the trend forecast produced for the boardroom suits: these are texts which speak to the demographic they analyse, rather than simplify these demographics for paying clients. It’s this difference, this understanding of spectatorship, that activates K-Hole’s PDFs as a hybrid form of art-object and cultural criticism. Paradoxically, however, it’s also this cultural fluency with the target demographic that makes it catnip to smart marketing teams, and it’s this duality which creates an ethical tension within the format that is perhaps an echo of the wider crisis of form that both haunts and drives the world of post-internet cultural production. Whilst the content is interesting, it’s the evolution and reproduction of the form, straddled between the critical and the commercial, that really highlights what is vital and problematic in this phenomena.
read the full article (it was published before "Normcore") here.

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