Let's talk about Gorpcore

Following the first official day of Autumn last week, my mind has been on Fall fashion (and more specifically Gorpcore). This slightly wacky term takes its name from your typical hiker’s most beloved snack Trail Mix, or Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts. It’s a style defined by one of my favourite types of fashion; functional, practical and inspired by the great outdoors. So how did these highly technical garments intended for high altitudes and rugged terrain make their way onto the runways of Paris and Milan?

Author Jason Chen first coined the phrase in an article for The Cut back in 2017 after curiously observing the infusion of North Face puffer jackets and Patagonia fleeces into the wardrobes of 20-something New Yorkers. Unlike the shots of snowy peaks and thick forests that we associate with garments like these, he noticed them draped on city kids queuing up for oat milk flat whites and kale salads at swanky Manhattan cafés. As winter landed in full force, it was clear this trend was going nowhere. A$AP Rocky famously wore a full zipped fleece and puffer combo  in January during New York Fashion Week, which sparked a slew of celebrities such as Drake and Kendall Jenner embracing the outdoor trend with Stone Island anoraks and North Face puffer jackets.

High fashion brands have been incorporating gorpcore’s easy, cool practical style for years. Think back to Phoebe Philo debuting fur lined sandals in 2013 that sparked the resurgence of the Birkenstock trend (I’m still unsure of my stance on this granola classic) however this trend revival has taken outdoor classics to new heights. The most extreme example that springs to my mind is Off-White’s x Arc’teryx’s spliced ball gowns modelled by the Hadid sisters for their FW20 collections. This partnership has proven to be so controversial there is even a petition to stop any future collaborations. The reason for this controversy? Many outdoor brands have strong brand values in the realm of sustainability, innovation, and authenticity, and their loyal customers feel that in collaborating with high fashion brands they’re compromising their values and brand culture.

However I feel these very brand values are part of the reason gorpcore is a trend that’s here to stay. To wear a brand with such a transparent stance on sustainability like Patagonia is to stand in solidarity with their ideals - it becomes a political statement.  Like all brands, these outdoor labels sell a version of ourselves we wish to be. A version of ourselves that wakes up early, eats organically, and spends weekend mornings lacing up hiking boots and scaling rocky terrains. For many urban Manhattan kids, the closest thing to hiking is climbing the stairs to their apartment block, so why not wear something practical and comfortable that can make you feel more connected to the great outdoors at the same time? 

Gorpcore typically knows no season, but it thrives in fall - and we’re no exception. Check out some of our favourite outdoor staples from Gorp certified brands such as RAINS, The North Face, Arc’Teryx, Adidas Terrex and Nike ACG.