top of page

What Is “Recession Core”?

Mara Vaț, XI D

As we progress quickly through our “grey” world, we find ourselves in the same place doing the same over and over again: consuming content. That unfortunate “only 5 minutes” on social platforms turns out to be another spiral to our human phenomenon.

Welcome back dear readers, hope you had an amazing start to spring. On today's agenda, we will discuss one fixation of the 21st-century person for the past couple of years, you guessed it, trends. Just like yours truly, we have found ourselves being surrounded by these rather subjective categories or aesthetics that create this overall new persona.

As we have been through a pandemic, we have slowly realized the hyperfiction young people started having when dedicating their whole image on a Pinterest board, how they have been affected by this desire (both emotionally and financially), and how personal freedom and style have helped us externalize that cry and oppression.

Unfortunately, trends did not lose influence, nor shifted their purpose to expressing certain political views, and subsequent political and community involvement, for example.

And that is also the case with what is named recession core, an aesthetic I cannot even define myself. So what is about it and why Refinery29 published it as “Is Recession Core Just An Opportunity For Celebrities To Cosplay Being Poor?”

What TikTok has dubbed "recession core", is a move by the rich and elite from appearing ostentatious during economic strife. It is also said that it points towards a return to a humbler manner of dressing that pivots away from maximalism.

Fashion magazine also quotes: “From a lack of glitzy jewellery to pared-down runways, the new age of dressing parallels economic turmoil. Everything is beige. Outfit trends have been reverting to minimalism. Beauty routines are centred around looking as natural as possible. Welcome to recession core.”

To clarify the matter, historically, recessions make the poor poorer and the rich richer, as those who are financially secure can take advantage of low-cost investment opportunities while others struggle to cover basic expenses due to inflation. Simply put, flaunting your wealth during an economic downturn is unprofessional. The rich and famous are acutely aware of the growing public criticism of celebrities (read: no babies). Perhaps this is why, rather than displaying flashy signs of opulence, celebrities and designers alike are shifting towards ambiguous affluence.

In line with the trends of Y2K maximalism, newly minted popular aesthetics have been decidedly less indulgent, as fashion begins to prioritise functionality over exaggerated embellishments. Why? Economists have been predicting a recession for some time, and current sartorial statements indicate that it is coming sooner rather than later. To better understand this, we can look to those who are always willing to help in times of need: celebrities.

This was mostly confirmed by the Oscars premieres, where celebrities were seen dressed in rather simple outfits with limited use of accessories and a neutral colour palette.

Another quite unmissable fact that has been rising flags about this new type of core: are designers going back to this minimalist approach. As seen with Marc Jacob’s Heaven and the new idea of maximalism, names like Rick Owens have made a huge comeback with their complex, yet simple in terms of colour looks.

But what this article will show you is not an analysis of another aesthetic, but a warning. Of course, there’s something admittedly dystopian about our culture’s tendency to organize everything into an aestheticized category, even a recession.

On the other hand, it makes the state of the world somewhat easier to understand and grapple with. After all, if we reframe an impending slump as yet another kooky fad, we can at least be comforted by the knowledge that, like any cyclical trend, it will end eventually. Unfortunately, this tendency has slowly made us follow this inevitable pattern of taking on a thing and building an entire persona and storyline around it.

These types of formulaic tendencies are just a response to our natural desire to fit in a certain category, a craving of evolving in this wanted persona. And that is also with recession core, where ordinary people will be brainwashed by what they see in these so-called humbled characters and have this instinctive desire to emulate the same thing. We need to also keep in mind how fashion has not only been a vessel of mass manipulation but of the symbolization of political and social outbursts.

Overall, recession core could be called another microtrend, an unsuccessful plan of the rich to appeal to more approachable or a form of ambushing creativity. Nonetheless, people should express themselves in anything they want regardless of what item of clothing they are wearing. Fashion should be a way of expression, a form of art that has a common finish point but different executions. Do I feel like this core is useless and maybe just a failed attempt at what coquette core created back in 2022? Yes. But, all we need to understand is that you are free to want, feel and do what you want with your person.

Hope you liked it and keep reading folks!

4 views0 comments


bottom of page