Eugenia Williamson at The Baffler:
The adventure began in 2013, and picked up steam early last year with Fiona Duncan’s “Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion,” a blowout exploration of the anti-individualist Normcore creed forNew York magazine. Duncan remembered feeling the first tremors of the revolution:
Sometime last summer I realized that, from behind, I could no longer tell if my fellow Soho pedestrians were art kids or middle-aged, middle-American tourists. Clad in stonewash jeans, fleece, and comfortable sneakers, both types looked like they might’ve just stepped off an R-train after shopping in Times Square. When I texted my friend Brad (an artist whose summer uniform consisted of Adidas barefoot trainers, mesh shorts and plain cotton tees) for his take on the latest urban camouflage, I got an immediate reply: “lol normcore.”
Brad, however eloquent and charming, did not coin the term himself. He got it from K-HOLE, a group of trend forecasters. To judge by K-HOLE’s name alone—a slang term for the woozy aftereffects of the animal tranquilizer and recreational drug ketamine—the group was more than happy to claim Normcore as its own licensed playground. As company principals patiently explained to the New York Times, their appropriation of the name of a toxic drug hangover was itself a sly commentary on the cultural logic of the corporate world’s frenetic cooptation of young people’s edgy habits.