Even our president did it.
For those who didn’t know the term already, normcore is, by definition, a fashion trend stylized by items of unpretentious and average-looking clothing. It is a portmanteau of the words “normal” and “hardcore.” How original.
But this fad was far from the ordinary, the average, and the unremarkable. And the purpose of this article is to pay respect to where it’s due, to the paragon of this phenomenon that was incepted by a webcomic back in 2009… the sneaker.
Yes, we’re all familiar with the sneaker. You wore it to your middle school dodgeball tournament, your post-work squash match, your dance-cardio class with the girls, and your jog in the park. But in recent years, sneakers have been reinvented and rebranded to be more than the sneakers you wore to the gym. No, really, they will cost you a lot more.
Functionally, these rubber-soled with leather-upper shoes have not changed much. Aesthetically, they may also look similar to the Adidas Stan Smiths and Reeboks you wore as a kid (which are also making their comebacks). This aesthetic’s exalted brand equity earned it the power to substantiate the new and hefty price tags.
Designers, artists, musicians alike are flocking to the money-making game of designing expensive sneakers for normal brands. (And if you’re a celebrity reading this article, ask yourself this: “If I haven’t designed a sneaker in my career, have I really made it as an artist?”)
Let’s take a look:
OVO Air Jordans 10 (Retail: $225; Sold out and on Ebay for up to $20,000)
Yeezy Boosts 350 (Retail $751)
Currently sold out and on Ebay for up to $3000 a pair
Red Octobers (Retail: $245; Sold Out and on Ebay for up to $49,000)
Raf Simons for Adidas (Retail $485, currently on sale for a bargain of $340)
Jeremy Scott and a personal favorite (Retail: $490)
And simultaneously, major haute design houses start also caught on the sneaker fire…
Chanel (L: Spring 2014 runway; R: Fall 2014 runway)
Dior (Spring 2014 runway)
Stella McCartney (Fall 2014 runway)
Celine (Fall 2015 runway)
Alexander Wang (Spring 2016 runway)
This trend has made it “cool” to pair couture dresses with sneakers you can buy from the Foot Locker on Broadway, and walk straight to the red carpet.
And what if you’re a guy who want to look dapper but your John Lobb loafers are at the leather spa? No worries, a Gucci suit paired with sneakers is just as acceptable.
So back to my original question of “is normcore over?”
While the white turtleneck paired with ’70s mom jeans may not always be the most flattering look, those sneakers will never make you look fat. Sneakers are here to stay. And they are paving the runway for athleisure-wear (a trend that integrates activewear and casualwear) with a US market size of $35.1 billion as of 2014.
Are you ready for what’s next?