When next watching Seinfeld reruns or flicking through photo albums of your parents in the early ‘90s, a lust for shapeless denim or forest green rollneck skivvies may surprise you. New Zealand Fashion Week is fast approaching and even throwing an outfit on for comfort sake could land you on the hippest streetstyle blog. Universal fashion taboos such as socks and sandals, sneakers and jeans or tennis visors are now appropriate for daily life. The celebration of all things ‘normal’, or ‘Normcore’ as it is better known, has been made a victim of 2014. Coined by New York trend forecasting collective K-hole, Normcore allows for fashionistas to stubbornly resist style by dressing as ‘90s preadolescents. Not making a fashion statement is the statement. If you are not ‘absolving yourself from fashion’ (as put by Jeremy Lewis, founder of Garmento) in the most fashionable way possible, then are you even trendy? We are reminded never to forget we are just another one in seven billion. ‘Fashion has become overwhelmingly popular’, says Lewis. ‘[Normcore] is unpretentious.’ The irony of Normcore lies in the impossibility of fashion ‘absolution’ by embracing a specific trend. Clothes must appear nondescript and generic, however there are a series of brands considered normal-chic. Products usually appreciated for their practicality are enjoying a dramatic increase in value. By trying to be so desperately deep Normcore has become a source of fashion comic relief. If, heaven forbid, ridiculing the mainstream by dressing mainstream were to actually become mainstream, we can only predict the trend would self-implode, probably in a shower of Velcro and polyester. That being said, could Normcore create a new utopia of normalcy? A fashion plateau that does not demand dressing up to feel stylish? The silver lining is that thanks to Normcore your parents are going to spend the next year effortlessly on trend. So tie that checkered flannel shirt around your waist with no intention to actually wear it later. Or casually throw some slides over your socks as though the decision wasn’t agonising. But in the meantime do remember fashion is an art form intended to stimulate and taste is not the enemy. Words by Beatrice Hazlehurst.
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