Curious about the latest fashion trends among Generation Z? I recently spoke with 12 News about one curiously unfashionable Gen Z fashion trend called Normcore, a portmanteau of the words “normal” and “hardcore”. Gen Zees are intentionally wearing clothes where a Gen Z is “trying to have a style that’s not having a style” and one that’s “pretty boring”. This news segment, which ran live on 12 News AZ this week, features live interviews with Gen Zees (and with me) that will help us figure out: why so plain? (Please note that my comments trump appearance!)
“New fashion trend ‘normcore’ a hit among Gen Z”
There’s a growing fashion movement among members Generation Z. It’s called normcore, which combines the words normal and hardcore. Normcore is a style that’s bland, average-looking and unpretentious.
Phoebe Wells describes Normcore as “trying to have a style that’s not having a style.”
“It’s when you dress normally,” said Alexander Videla. “You try to appear as normal as possible, not sticking out, just blending in.”
“It’s almost an ironic statement,” said Kelly Dorney. “Our generation is kind of saying, ‘We all dress the same and it’s something that kind of unites us, but we’re still really individual.'”
All three are students at Arizona School of the Arts.
Dorney is part of normcore. “It’s kind of like comfy, regular clothing, like mom jeans and thrift-store shopping, as opposed to tattoos and eccentric clothing that define other generations,” she said.
She’s not into designer labels or name brands. “We just like to wear whatever is convenient and comfy, kind of like that’s the style now so it works out,” she said.
Nancy Nessel, founder of the blog Getting Gen Z is a generational expert. She says Generation Z includes people born between 1996 to 2010. They account for about 23 million people in the U.S. and at least 1.5 billion in the world.
They’re diverse, open-minded, more global and ready to take risks, she says.
“I think they’re a fantastic generation,” Nessel said. “They’re practical, they are obviously tech savvy, brilliant, creative, pragmatic, overall they seem like fantastic kids.”
Nessel explains the reason why Gen Z dresses so plain is because they’re not materialistic. They don’t want brands to define them,
“They’re saying, ‘Hey brand, I’m going to wear what I want. Leave me alone and I’ll come to you if I’m ready to buy your brand,'” Nessel said.
She describes the clothing as very gender neutral. “It’s about having the agility to jump to any preference or mood or whatever they want. It’s not defined. It’s really about getting rid of labels.”
Why is normcore gaining traction? Nessel says it’s because it’s Generation Z’s way of rebelling against their Generation X parents.
“I think they’re embarrassed by their parents,” she said. “Their parents are probably pushing them a lot and there’s thinner boundaries between what’s sold to children and what’s sold to adults… they don’t want to be labeled, or judged or defined. They want to be known for what they can create. What GoPro video production they put on Instagram. And I think too a lot of them think that way because they don’t care.”
But some young people say it’s not just a fashion statement, or reverse fashion statement.
For Kelly Dorney, it’s about buying whatever is on sale: “I shop at Goodwill a lot, Buffalo Exchange.”