Chunky sneakers, high waisted pants and inoffensive silhouettes have taken over the runways. The norming of fashion is upon us and there’s no doubt about it. It’s time to raid your father’s wardrobe and forget everything you knew about standing out.


Words: Tshiamo Seape


Dadcore (Photographer: Mark Kean)


The aesthetic of the post modern era seems to tend to the simplistic. The birth of the normcore movement has been years in the making and it seems to be reaching critical mass. Spearheaded by luxury fashion houses the trend is a response to the increased exposure these brands now have to previously oblivious consumers. Every phone is a catalogue and knowing means wanting, and wanting means savvy brands finding ways to cater to the needs of entirely new markets. Similarly, brands are now paying attention to a new generation of fashion influencers who would not have ordinarily been on their radar. Fashion bloggers, not editors, sit front row at fashion shows, rappers design sneakers and there seems to be no end to the number collaborations between high-end fashion houses and populist brands, regardless of their compatibility. I’m looking at you, Karl Lagerfeld x Vans.


Karl Lagerfeld x Vans


The legendary designer of one of the world’s most iconic brands, Channel, has joined forces with not-luxe skateboarding brand, Van’s, for the fashion house’s latest and most left-field collaboration to date. The Wire Team was getting used to collaborations of all a kinds (every kind), but this one really caught us off guard. Released on September 7, the collection features The iconic designer’s even more iconic visage incorporated into the classic Vans checked pattern; bags, jackets and T-shirts round out the collection.


The best way to understand this trend is to start from the ground up – the kicks. About 10 years ago the sneaker world was enamoured with the idea of minimalism. The trend was most likely kicked off by the popularity of Common Projects‘ iconic Achilles Low silhouette. The trend reached its peak with the release of the Adidas Stan Smith in 2014 – the most popular tennis shoe of all time, but who cares now?


Common Projects Achilles Low


Bold colourways, chunky soles, an assortment of patterns and even “pre-distressed” materials are king of the runways and the sidewalks. Ordinary is in, and in a big way. Designers seem to be getting their inspiration from their parent’s photo albums and it doesn’t stop there, however. The trend emphasises an overall shift to a more grounded, accessible sense of fashion with the likes of Balenciaga even co-opting former presidential candidate Bernie “Man of the People” Sanders’ campaign logo in their Autumn/Winter Collection. High fashion has turned the Average Joe into something of a noble slouch. Looking like your dad has never looked cooler. The inspiration is clear but the execution is somewhat different; a well-tailored suit is replaced a pair of Dad jeans and a tucked polo.


Balenciaga A/W 2017 ready to wear


Sneakers are not the only ones having fun. Undoubtedly sensing a shift in the style sensibilities of the masses, purveyors of practicality, Birkenstock, decided to hold their first ever show at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year. After more than 200 years in the game, they finally got their foot in the door. Of the momentous debut Birkenstock CEO, Olivier Reichert stated: “We want to join the family, but we are not on the way to push the fashion more—we are okay where we are”.


Birkenstock at Paris Fashion Week


This sentiment reflects the overall theme of the industry, and indeed this article: Do you! The internet has levelled the playing field and given more people a place to shine. Fashion houses at every level of the luxury ladder are realising that they no longer have exclusive rights to the trends and trendsetters. People can and will do it for themselves. In a not unexpected compromise, we are seeing more accessibility in the industry. Designers would sooner adapt than die. It’s about catering to an aesthetic, not necessarily an uncaring approach to constructing an outfit or being unaware of brands, and brand power.


From norm to dad and all the cores in between the lesson learned are pretty simple: there’s more room than ever before for people to be themselves. Being a slouch is chic and staying “on-trend” no longer has to cost an arm and a leg – unless you want it to. Your style is good enough and the world of high fashion is (finally) accessible to the people who inspire it.

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