Do you dress according to your own set of style rules? Do you avoid wearing obvious fashion labels? Do you eschew the season’s latest trends? If so, you might be more stylish than you think. If you’ve happened to read a fashion magazine or blog this year, you’ve probably heard about “normcore” – a much debated and discussed buzzword and one of this year’s hottest movements in fashion and design.
Coined by the trend-forecasters, K-Hole, the term is defined as a “unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing” (source: Wikipedia). Some describe normcore as dressing, well, normally, without taking trends into account. Gone are ostentatious logos and the season’s latest print or color obsession. Unsurprisingly, some have also described normcore described as boring, with key fashion pieces being plain white shirts, khakis, sneakers and neutral colors.
I’ll let others more versed in style and design debate whether normcore is good or bad fashion. However, I believe that sustainability communicators and marketers should be paying attention to normcore because it appears to rooted in sustainable values. Normcore is seemingly a form of minimalism that prioritizes substance over style and focuses on function versus form.
While normcore is not limited to a particular demographic – Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Jobs are both considered to be pioneers of normcore – it does seem to have found new popularity among Millennials. This should not come as a surprise and study after study have told us that Millennials are much more progressive in their sustainability values and are increasingly wary of big brands and labels.
AdWeek recently illustrated this generation’s value set in infographic, “Here is Everything You Need to Know About the Millennial Consumer.” According to AdWeek, 68% of Millennials are “completely unfazed by celebrity endorsements or star-studded ads.” They tend to make purchasing decisions based on peer or family recommendations and they overwhelmingly trust personal recommendations more than claims made by a brand (89%).
Normcore is, as The New York Timespenned earlier this year, “not a fashion trend, but a broader sociological attitude.” It focuses on authenticity and it is, literally, a “back to basics” philosophy that eschews the disposability and wishy-washiness of fashion trends.
The recent surge of normcore’s popularity suggests that there is a growing appetite for products and services that are simple, authentic, and sustainable. There is an opportunity for sustainability communicators and marketers to apply the appeal of normcore to other consumer goods besides fashion. Already, normcore is being applied to interior design, home goods, and makeup.
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @Brigid_Milligan – what do you think of normcore? How can we apply it to other aspects of sustainability marketing?