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MEDIAN MODE

Rick Owens AW14

If you observe end of the year Google search term tallies, you’d see some of 2014’s most searched fashion argot were by healthgoth and athleisure, the toned alternative to nineties trends.  The list topper was, of course, the beast commonly known as normcore. Manifested even on the runway by designers such as Rick Owens and Heikki Salonen, the term defies definition.  Initially K-Hole–self-dubbed “trend forecasting group”–coined normcore to describe ultra-conventional Johns and Janes who don’t care a sock for fashion. Now it oscillates between describing ‘ugly’ yet nonchalantly quirky fashion born from thrift stores, hand-me-downs, and Target racks, the reclamation of traditionally mundane fabrics and garments into high fashion, and just plain boring fashion. If some of this sounds familiar despite the funny moniker, it’s because it’s fundamentally the same nostalgia wave that has flooded fashion for almost a decade now–and we have just gotten to the cusp of the 2000s, God have mercy.

While I appreciate the anti-commercial, anti-capitalistic, anti-trend philosophy that normcore ostensibly champions, in practice it’s quite the opposite. However, it’s hard not to appreciate the myriad ensembles that emerge from the normcore school, which are often hilarious and occasionally genius.  Just one last thing: is anyone tired of ironic fashion yet?

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