Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Normcore

I found a new word today.  My hard copy dictionary was useless, so to Google I went.  Apparently, this has been a thing since 2014.  Where have I been?  How have I missed this trend?  An entire fashion cycle has come (and some would say gone) before I had a chance to reject it myself.

I'm not the only one, it seems.  According to dazeddigital.com,  Normcore dominated the search engine requests this year. Presumably everybody was Googling it because they had no idea what it was.

Right away, I started to feel better.

According to The Guardian, the phrase grew out of five young marketing execs with arts backgrounds sitting in an apartment, wondering why Power Points were so boring.  They formed K-Hole, and began to publish papers.  With names like Prolasticity A Report on Patience and Fragmoretation A Report on Visibility, it's obvious that they've taken their cue from the Burrow's inventiveness with the language.

Seriously... fragmoretation?!?!

I read the download and I think I have a fingertip hold on the concept.This trend is a way of differentiating oneself form the sameness (the same 50 stores in every mall across America).  In K-Hole's words, fragmoretation is saying this is what we are not. FragMOREtation is an attempt to catch the eye — not by being big or flashy, but by being broken-off, hidden, and/or decontextualized.

It seems to involved splitting up a brand so that the customer can put it back together again and feel like an individual, rather than a member of a pack.

I went on to Youth Mode, K-Hole's assertion that
Youth isn’t freedom in any political sense. It’s an emancipation from boredom, from prescription, from tradition. It’s the fullness of potential, the ability to be the person you want to be. It’s about the freedom to choose how you relate; the freedom to choose how you understand; the freedom to try new things; the freedom to make mistakes. Youth understands freedom with limits — that being adaptable is the only thing that will set you free.
Somehow, that seems like retirement to me.

The report goes on, with broad statements like this
There’s a limited amount of difference in the world, and the mainstreaming of its pursuit has only made difference all the scarcer. 
Really?  A limited amount of difference?  These are people who live in New York City... do they not look out their windows at the mishmash of humanity walking by?

Or, perhaps, they live in a hipster world, where no one outside their circle is deemed to have any importance.  Of course, that has its downside, too, as the report goes on to tell us.
When the fringes get more and more crowded, Mass Indie turns toward the middle. Having mastered difference, the truly cool attempt to master sameness.
So, am I cool because I am different or because I am the same?  What about that screed on youth seven paragraphs ago?  What happened to freedom?

And then we come to normcore, which K-Hole's graphic describes thusly
Situational • Non-deterministic • Adaptable • Unconcerned with authenticity • Empathy over Tolerance • Post-aspirational 
Again, it sounds to me like the wisdom which comes with age.
Normcore knows your consumer choices aren’t irrelevant, they’re just temporary. People compromise, people are inconsistent. Making one choice today and a conflicting choice tomorrow doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It just makes you complex.
And suddenly,it all became clear to me.  These are people who are looking at the externals, and assuming they reflect what's going on inside, too. Their report might try to refute that, but I don't see it.

They hold out hope for us, though.
Normcore seeks the freedom that comes with non-exclusivity. It finds liberation in being nothing special, and realizes that adaptability leads to belonging. Normcore is a path to a more peaceful life.
Okay... that's G'ma telling me to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing/saying/wearing and to come inside and have dinner.  Removing the comparisons, rejecting the judgments, being flexible and open to newness.... that's part of growing up.

Normcore..... it's a mash up of Normal and Hardcore... it was the most Googled fashion term of 2014..and now you know just as much about it as I do.

Aren't you glad you read The Burrow this morning?

3 comments:

  1. Your post is pretty HARD CORE this morning. As I attempted to scroll, a huge ad for Pepperidge Farm's Milano cookie kept flashing on the page! I had to laugh. Nothing fragmented there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nothing fragmented, indeed! Intense and brand specific... I'm drooling and I know why :)
    Do you often get ads? I don't think they are coming from my end, but PLEASE let me know if you think that they are.
    a/b

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, no, I didn't figure you were sending the ads. These blogging sites do this, especially with very popular blogs, of which yours is one. Today's ad is for cat litter.

    ReplyDelete

Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!