Ever since I heard the term Normcore on CBC radio back in March 2014 it has had me thinking what makes this “movement” such a big deal. I have been contemplating about writing about it, the dilemma being: Would I be conforming to and promoting a trend dictated by the media or participating in a huge inside joke?? But today is the day I confront this subject… to at least free my mind from thinking about it!!
Backgrounder… What is Normcore?
As described on Wikipedia:
Normcore is a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing. The term combines the words “normal” and “hard-core”, and was coined by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group.
Normcore wearers are people who do not wish to distinguish themselves from others by their clothing. This is not to mean that they are unfashionable people who wear whatever comes to hand, but that they consciously choose clothes that are undistinguished – except, frequently, for a highly visible label to impart prestige. The “normcore” trend has been interpreted as a reaction to a fashion oversaturation resulting from ever faster-changing fashion trends.
Normcore clothes include everyday items of casual wear such as t-shirts, hoodies, short-sleeved shirts, jeans and chino pants, but not items such as neckties or blouses. These clothes are worn by men and women alike, making normcore a unisex style.
Why should we care?
An article about Normcore in the NY Times postulated that this is not a movement or trend but a huge inside joke.
“As envisioned by its creators, “Normcore” was not a fashion trend, but a broader sociological attitude. The basic idea is that young alternative types had devoted so much energy to trying to define themselves as individuals, through ever-quirkier style flourishes like handlebar mustaches or esoteric pursuits like artisanal pickling, that they had lost the joy of belonging that comes with being part of the group. Normcore was about dropping the pretense and learning to throw themselves into, without detachment, whatever subcultures or activities they stumbled into, even if they were main-stream.” 
With that being said, a conforming non-conformist these days is still a conformist (yes, you kids are thinking Emo!!). I believe that most of us are just done with labels. We have taken enough dictation from the corporations. Besides, those labels aren’t as reliable as we once believed them to be. We just want quality comfort that doesn’t cost us our entire slave wage. For the spaces we live in, this idea of quality casual, well designed comfort without a huge price tag has been the mainstay of many a designer’s philosophy. Our living spaces, just as with our clothes, wear out, outgrow or grow bored of, and are a much larger investments that we keep around for as long as possible. We may switch around our accessories occasionally, but we rarely buy a new sofa or dining table.
Muji to the Normcore rescue:
Downtown Toronto is about to receive the minimalist Japanese houseware retailer Muji . Muji, which stands for “Mujirushi Ryohin” in Japanese, means “No brand. Quality goods.” The company says on its website that it takes a minimalist approach with its products, creating items that are “truly fit for their purpose” as an antidote to society’s over-consumption. 
Shauna Levy, president of the Design Exchange, says “Muji enforces the very essence of what design is – design for the everyday… Muji’s approach democratizes design, and highlights the utilitarian value of good design. Its lack of emphasis on branding has become a brand in and of itself, and as we as a society continue to move away from big ubiquitous logos, Muji is a welcome and refreshing option.” 
We are heading towards democratic interiors… no need to keep up with the Joneses anymore!! You have what you need and it looks good doing what it was designed to do… Love it!!
The Normcore Effect?
Like everything in life, trends come and go. Just as we settle into a look or lifestyle choice that is cozy for us, we are told by the media that there is something better out there and you should go get it. This is where “Normcore” rebels. Normcore is giving the finger to elitism!! You don’t need the latest and greatest to be cool… you are cool… just being your happy, comfortable self. Hey Vogue… who’s in on the joke now!!??
- Williams, Alex (April 2, 2014). “The New Normal”, New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Duncan, Fiona (February 26, 2013). “Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion”, New York. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Cochrane, Lauren (February 27, 2014). “Normcore: The Next Big Fashion Movement?”, The Guardian. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Frank, Thomas (April 27, 2014). “Hipsters, They’re Just Like Us! “Normcore,” Sarah Palin, and the GOP’s Big Red State Lie”, Salon. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Ferrier, Morwenna (June 21, 2014). “The End of the Hipster: How Flat Caps and Beards Stopped Being So Cool”. The Guardian. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
- van Rooijen, Jeroen (May 30, 2014). “Trendthema “Normcore”: Die Mittelpracht”. Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved May 31, 2014.