Athleisure, Born from Normcore

In fashion, previous trends hardly ever disappear — they simply resurface. And when they do, they do not come back with the same looks. Trends come back with upgraded designs and styles to appeal to newer generations. The normcore and athleisure trends are no exceptions.

Normcore basically stands for average-looking fashion. Meaning, normcore fashion remains more relaxed and low-key, unlike how some clothing screams the label of its brand. Some major elements that represent this trend include relaxed fit clothes, sneakers, neutral colors, and denim. While putting emphasis on staying fashionable, this trend also allows you to stay comfortable and cozy.

Besides the fact that it does not require too much effort, the normcore trend still does the job of making one look fashionable. One of the misconceptions about normcore is that it is all about minimalistic and basic looks, but this isn’t true. Even within the categories of dad jeans or plain t-shirts, there is a variety of styles that people can choose from. There are many ways to upgrade your normcore look with a twist.

Normcore relates to the ‘90s trends that celebrities like Will Smith embraced. People wore obnoxiously colorful pieces with designs that came in all sorts of patterns. Even though this trend eventually faded away, the more subdued and basic pieces from the era can be found on the streets today, reincarnated as normcore. Some of the most well-known places to shop normcore include American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, while Levi’s and Calvin Klein dominate the denim market.

Unlike normcore fashion, the athleisure trend leans towards a sporty aesthetic based on early 2000s styles. A wide array of athleisure brands such as Adidas, Nike and Fila were popular back then. Adidas Superstars, Nike Cortezes, Fila windbreakers and Reebok sneakers were considered it items in the early 2000s. These pieces were not only popular among many hip hop artists, but also made it to the covers of fashion magazines.

Since the revival of Adidas, Nike, Reebok and Puma, athleisure fashion is making a comeback. The Stan Smiths have been embraced by Pharrell Williams and Raf Simons with fashionable upgrades. Other fashionable mergings include Nike’s collaboration with Kim Jones of Louis Vuitton and Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy; Reebok is working with Gosha Rubchinskiy, Palace, and Kendrick Lamar; and Puma launched a new line with Rihanna and signed with Kylie Jenner.

With the resurrection of the athleisure trend, brands like Lululemon and Outdoor Voices began being worn outside the gym. Both brands have recently released capsule collections in collaboration with other designers and artists. Lululemon joined forces with Osei-Duro, a Ghana-based designer, and created limited-edition batik printed active wear. Outdoor Voices teamed up with A.P.C for their minimalist capsule collection A.P.C.O.V.

The evolution of normcore to athleisure reflects the previous development of ‘90s to early 2000s trends. The cyclical nature of fashion takes the old and makes it new again. The refreshed iterations of these trends focus on comfort, without lacking style.

Adryan Son is the Deputy Social Media Editor. Email him at


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