I took an ill-advised dip into the fashion oriented subreddits today after following some threads from the latest warmed-over discussion about Dio de los Muertos inspired face makeup (summary: Most actual Mexicans living in Mexico don't give a fuck, as opposed to those of Latinx heritage living in the U.S.). That was a mistake.
I've discovered that the way I've been boringly dressing for years as an I.T. guy is now being rediscovered and repackaged as 'normcore'. You can see a sample of this discussion here.
'Normcore' is typified by wearing polos, cargo shorts, white socks and the like, mixed in with a bit of sportswear. The Gap is now marketing it heavily in their "Dress Normal" campaign. Think how Barak Obama dresses when he's having his one beer at a Midwestern burger joint and you've pretty much got it.
The discussion pretty much boils down to intentionality. See, if you're a person who just likes to wear clothes that are utilitarian and comfortable, that's wrong and you should be shot. However, now apparently if you chose to wear those same clothes, but with the intent of being fashionable, and also happen to be young and have a hipster beard, you might now be permitted to live.
Now to attempt to expand this discourse a bit beyond just being a mere rant about the hatred around my velcro strap sandals and khaki pants. Can we talk for a bit about how apparently we've just collectively as a culture given up on any notion of authenticity, because it is simply impossible?
There's nothing new anymore under the sun, in terms of aesthetics. Everything, aside possibly from some yet-undiscovered native tribal groups somewhere, has been discovered, repackaged, and marketed. Fashion, design, aesthetics and foodieism are in fact one of the literal instances where one can point to a smoke-filled room full of elites who decide what is going to be 'cool'.
Although nobody smokes anymore. Change that to 'weed and vape filled rooms.'
I feel a bit ashamed to be attacking this on such a reductive level. I nearly got to a PhD in Continental Philosophy for fucksake. I've read Baudrillard. I've written extensively on Foucault and power. I'm about as far from being a throwback Marxist in favor of Mao suits as you could get, on many levels. And I watch endless hours of the Food Network.
But can we all please collectively stop pretending that sifting from a huge menu of predetermined cultural choices and picking a few as our own, marks any of us as distinctive, unique individuals with authentic taste? Unless you have a personal haberdasher or seamstress that makes you exclusively bespoke handmade items according to their own personal vision that they receive from the Oracle of Delphi, you're wearing, eating, driving, or repping someone else's design choices that have been focus-grouped, sanitized, repackaged and marketed to you.