Why Everyone Should Drop ‘Naarmcore’ For Melbourne’s Trending Fashion

"Using Aboriginal language to fit a trending aesthetic dismisses the 65,000 years of history and depth of Aboriginal cultures, languages, and practices."

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Clothing the Gaps has challenged the use of ‘Naarmcore’ as an aesthetic pushed on TikTok.

The Aboriginal fashion label called out the trending word — swung around to describe Melbourne’s street style — by saying they were “putting Naarmcore in the bin” on Friday, and encouraging everyone to follow suit.

As shared by the group in an Instagram post, the word Naarm is used by the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung language groups to refer to the city’s CBD and Port Phillip Bay respectively, as part of the wider Kulin Nation.

“We love when people switch out names of places for its Traditional language place name,” said Clothing the Gaps. “It makes Aboriginal people feel seen and heard, and is a pice of the truth telling that needs to happen in this country.”

“Using Aboriginal language to fit a trending aesthetic dismisses the 65,000 years of history and depth of Aboriginal cultures, languages, and practices,” they continued, explaining that decolonising practices must go deeper and further than simply calling Melbourne, Naarm.


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Naarmcore — a spin-off of ‘normcore‘ street style — has industrial-inspired undertones, and is currently centred on puffer jackets, cargo pants, fingerless gloves, hiking shoes, beanies, often donned and claimed by white people living in Brunswick, Collingwood, and Fitzroy.

“It’s strange that Naarmcore has become this,” said Indigenous and Pakistani model Tariq Junaid Ismat on TikTok. “It’s become so detached from Indigenous people and Traditional Owners of the land.”

“The problem is that people do the bare minimum and use Naarm, but that’s not enough. We told you to use Naarm and to start embracing our culture, and learning that it’s still here.”

“Naarm is a place name. It’s not like your little fashion moment,” he said, instead pointing to Blak-owned brands like Rowland Vision, Haus of Dizzy, Ngali Australia, and Clothing the Gaps as true depictions of the aesthetic instead.

“Remember that real Naarmcore isn’t about white people. Naarm is about our First Nations people.”

The word is also spelt Narrm and Nairm, and observations note its uptake in general use spiked during the Black Lives Matter movement as a gesture of solidarity within progressive circles.

In May, AFL team the Demons played as the Narrm Football Club during an annual Indigenous round named after Sir Doug Nicholls, while the City of Melbourne considered expanding dual names for individual suburbs back in February.

“We all live on unceded Aboriginal lands, and we have a responsibility to honour this Country,” said Clothing the Gaps. “Educating ourselves about Country and language is one way we can do this.”