When you don’t care about Fashion — Is it Normcore, Resilience or Antagonism?

Are you fashionable or is it just an accident?

The last few weeks have proved it once again: Fashion moves the masses. Caravans of aficionados have traveled from London and Milan to Paris, Berlin and New York, all to be inspired, charmed and moved by the many designs. But even though many people have made a career out of fashion, and even more people show an impressive interest, there are still those who have no interest or attention for fashion. They wear black fleece shirts to protect themselves from the nasty autumn weather. They wear Converse sneakers because they still fit after years and are comfortable and light. They wear what is “at the top of the wardrobe”, which saves time apparently. 

But one thing is for sure: everyone who lives in the fashion bubble knows such a “fashion antagonist”. For example, the cranky uncle who always wears the same thing. Because “Steve Jobs always wore the same kind of turtleneck so he could concentrate on the important things”. A statement that is only partially true. Steve Jobs certainly wore the same black sweater, but it was not from his local H&M or Zara, it was from Issey Miyake. So he was definitely concerned with the fact that quality is paramount here.We also know a so-called “fashion antagonist”.

Picture Robert (name changed to protect anonymity): 27, a self-proclaimed long-term student with no interest in fashion. “There was never a moment where I thought, ‘Well, I’m not interested in this anymore’. There was just never a point of contact for me.” His Uniform? As basic as you imagine. Straight legged dark denim jeans, rolled up at the hem. A classic T-Shirt, sometimes in dark blue, but most of the time in white or black. He wears his black dirty converse daily but he also has a pair of White Air Force Ones in his closet. He never wears them. “I’m afraid I will get them dirty, my brother gifted them to me”. A running joke among his friends since A-levels is that the only lasting relationship he will ever have is with his oversleeved Converse.

For people who spend their lives obsessing over fashion, its history and different aesthetics, it seems frighteningly implausible that someone wouldn’t share the same passion, but Robert doesn’t care about fashion because he dislikes fashion, he “just never had the chance”. He finds inspiration in other ways. He reads a lot. His 45-square-metre flat, which he shares with a flatmate, is piled high with books of every genre. Pages that moved him are marked with post-its and coloured markers, and some pages are folded in. 

But Robert is certainly not the only one who comes to mind when we think of a casual “I don’t give a fuck-attidude” when it comes to fashion. Search for “Adam Sandler style” and the results are a guy who looks like he’s left an imprint on his La-Z-Boy. The actor wears huge flowered basketball shorts, oversized polo shirts and untied basketball shoes. Those familiar with Sandler’s style will know that the actor likes to wear loose, baggy pieces, often pairing oversized T-shirts with basketball shorts, chunky socks and trainers. He’s rocked this combo on the court as well as the red carpet, providing us with years of relatable, laid-back outfit inspiration.

Among all things it’s one thing for sure: Authentic. It’s a rejection of extravagance. It’s about subverting any notion of edginess. It’s about dressing like Jerry Seinfeld. Puffy spring jackets, solid-colored button up shirts tucked into mom jeans, basic long sleeve T-shirts, dad hats, maybe some baggy track pants that are a little too short, boring shoes, nothing matching–the plainer the better  The idea is to give off an air of not caring. 

And yes, once upon a time, there were also people who didn’t care about fashion – and that was fine, even refreshing. Mock turtlenecks with Tevas and Patagonia windbreakers; Uniqlo khakis with New Balance trainers or Crocs and souvenir baseball caps – a simple everyday look that would come to be known as normcore. 

So Robert is unwittingly a Normcore newcomer after all? “On paper, for sure. I mean, the stuff I have in my wardrobe is a bit Seinfeldian,” he says with a smile. “But to be honest, I still don’t really know what normcore is.”