First Nations creators call TikTok fashion trend ‘Naarmcore’

Spend enough time watching TikTok videos from Melbourne and you might come across the term ‘Naarmcore’.
In contrast to the “cottagecore” visual aesthetic and lifestyle where some wear traditional Victorian-era inspired dresses in cottage-like settings, and the whimsical “fairycore” which draws inspiration from the fantasy character, “Naarmcore” is the trendy word used. to describe a particular style most commonly seen on the streets of Melbourne.
Popularized on TikTok, “Naarmcore” uses Melbourne’s traditional Aboriginal name, Naarm, to describe the street style. Puffer jackets, cargo pants, hiking boots and beanies are all look must-haves.
But since its popularization, some First Nations people have begun to voice their disapproval of the trending term, saying Naarm has now detached itself from its meaning.
Aboriginal fashion brand Clothing the Gaps, a social enterprise celebrating Aboriginal peoples and culture, wrote a letter last week explaining why it was trashing the term, urging others to do the same.

“We love it when people replace place names with their traditional language place name. It makes Indigenous people feel seen and heard and it’s an element of truth that needs to happen in this country,” said the society that is indigenous. -led and majority owned by Indigenous people, said.

But the group said “true decolonization practices” needed to go deeper and deeper than just calling Melbourne, Naarm.
“If we take the time and effort to understand the history and meaning of Indigenous languages ​​and places, we can decolonize the way we think and act.
“Using Indigenous language to fit a trending aesthetic pushes aside the 65,000-year history and depth of Indigenous cultures, languages, and practices.”

As explained by the group in the statement, Naarm (also spelled Nairm, Narrm) is used by the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung language groups as part of the wider Kulin nation.

‘Naarm is a place name. It’s not your little fashion moment’

Pakistani and Aboriginal model and content creator Tariq Ismat said The flow he was delighted with last year’s decision by Australia Post to allow after a campaign by Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail.
“Even sometimes the smallest of representations is enough.”
But he said the term “Naarmcore” had become so removed from its origins that it had lost its true meaning.
The 21-year-old said Naarm’s name even popped up in conversations to describe something “very Melbourne”.

“Our culture is still there, but you’ve just turned it into this aesthetic, which completely takes away who it really is,” he said.

In his TikTok video, which is now approaching 100,000 views, he says, “The problem is people are doing the bare minimum and using Naarm. [instead of Melbourne]But this is not enough.”
“Naarm is a place name. It’s not your little fashion moment,” instead naming Blak-owned companies that have provided genuine portrayals of “Naarmcore.”
Another TikTok user also shared a video expressing concern over how the name had been appropriated.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that everyone uses Naarm more than Melbourne… but are we reclaiming that term and not recognizing it as an Aboriginal place name? she says.
“It seems now Naarm is more an aesthetic than a place name.
“Are we redefining Naarm for a white aesthetic?
Mr Ismat said that while he was happy to help others understand why the term was being misused, he wanted others to pay more attention and take more initiative.

“There are so many resources out there. I’m sure people hear this a lot, but Google is free.”

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