" Using clothing for self-expression is uncomfortable, expensive, time-consuming and complicated. Perhaps disengaging from fashion is the best way to respond to its ever-shifting minutiae. Normal is chic."
- Rory Satran, i-D, in an article about the normcore trend.
The statement above is one that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Those who follow me on Twitter may be familiar with my frequent gripes with the normcore movement, and mainly the labelling of it as such, so I decided I should probably figure out exactly why I dislike it so much.
I should start by saying that I am unashamedly, unabashedly, in love with the ritual act of putting on clothes, buying them, finding them, altering them, the lot. I JUST LOVE DRESSING UP.
I dress according to the mood I am in each day.
Or the person I want to be, or the music I'm listening to, or the way I need to feel about the world.
Vintage camel overcoat for my Cambridge interview.
I am confident, collected - a 'grown up'.
Floor length flowered kimono, walking home, half-drunken haze, whilst the sun comes up.
I am the light, intangible, ethereal.
Black leather jacket, black leather shorts, black leather boots.
I am danger, reckless, delinquent.
In my eyes, clothing is one of the ultimate forms of self-expression, completely unique and endlessly interesting. Thus, disengaging from fashion seems like disengaging with a part of yourself - why would you want to?
When I was younger I strived to be more 'normal' and tried, like I'm sure every child does, to be more like everyone else. I remember in some assemblies at school where everyone had to stand up, I stood in a weird half squat/slouch stance (you know the kind when you're in somewhere where the ceiling is a bit too low? ouch) in an attempt to stick out less for being the tallest. Or purposely get answers wrong in tests so that my score would be in the middle, not too smart cuz that would draw attention. Of course, it was all fucking silliness and too much effort to keep up with for long, but I suppose what it's left me with is the knowledge that any attempts to be normal just leads to feelings of inadequacy and unsatisfaction. I mean, 'normal' is subjective by all intents and purposes, so it's a state about as achievable as Taylor Swift becoming winner of this year's Best Rap Album.
I think that's why a trend whose philosophy is sameness and fitting in is so boring and questionable to me.
Comfort, minimalism, practicality... those are all wonderful things! I embrace Nike Free Runs and welcome turtle-neck jumpers into my life with open arms!
But I would want the addition of them in my wardrobe to be deemed as an extension of my personal style, expression and self, and not a reduction of it.
Whilst I totally think that the key pieces and posterchilds (or erm, Seinfelds) of the normcore movement are amazing unto themselves, I must disagree with Ms. Satran: normal isn't chic, individuals are.