If you spot someone wearing hiking boots, cargo pants, and a puffer jacket, your first thought is probably that they are going skiing, but you might be wrong. They could just be walking down to the grocery store to pick up a packet of milk. Why? A new fashion trend called Gorpcore. Gorpcore is derived from the phrase Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts and has taken over the fashion industry. Let’s look at what it is, what it entails, and why it is so popular.
Gorpcore is a relatively new term used to describe a fashion trend that involved wearing garments designed for extreme outdoor weather as everyday streetwear. The term was coined by Jason Chen – the author – in 2017 after he spotted several celebrities in outdoor wear like island windbreakers (Drake) and zip-up fleeces and puffer jackets (A$AP Rocky). In an article in The Cut, Chen coined the term and described its origins, calling it an extension of normcore.
The History of Gorpcore
As you can see, Gorpcore was first conceived in 2017 by Chen and is derived from the American term for trail mix. In terms of style, this fashion trend focuses on comfort and function, drawing heavily from outdoor activities like mountaineering, trekking, and hiking. It had an initial following but became even more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people turned to outdoor activities for stress relief. When winter came, many high fashion brands included outdoor inspirations in their winter collections in response to the Gorpcore movement. Runway models could be seen rocking hiking boots, technical training shoes, and puffer jackets throughout 2020. The trend even birthed some notable collaborations like the Moncler’ Genius’ line and North Face and Gucci collection.
The Gorpcore Look
Despite the heavy influence from outdoor fashion, you do not have to be a die-hard hiker to rock a Gorpcore outfit. Key pieces needed to complete this aesthetic include:
- Utilitarian rain jackets, e.g., Gore-Tex shell jackets, fleece, puffer jackets
- Durable backpacks
- Sturdy shoes, e.g., hiking boots, trail running shoes, etc.
- Cargo pants
Most of the garments are designed for rough terrain and made from practical materials like ripstop, fleece, and down puffer. That said, not all outdoor pieces will fall into the Gorpcore category. Essentially, the Gorpcore aesthetic is almost futuristic. It is clean and geometric.
Techwear Vs. Gorpcore
The techwear trend, which was moderately popular during the 2010s, and Gorpcore bear some similarities, but they are very distinct styles. The former involves adopting utilitarian garments to urban environments, while the latter often sees people wearing hiking and mountain gear in the city. Techwear also adopts broodier, dark, and muted colors complimented by draped hoods, while Gorpcore garments are brighter, neater, and more geometric.
Key Gorpcore Brands
Several top brands have found themselves dominating the streets simply by focusing on outdoor clothing lines. The Nuptse puffer jacket from North Face is a great example of this migration that has almost taken over the Gorpcore scene. Since it grew in popularity, Gorpcore has garnered a lot of attention from fashion houses, and several brands now have a line dedicated to the trend. The top brands associated with this movement include:
Salomon has made a name for itself among skiers everywhere for its bindings, snowboards, and skis. In recent years, this French manufacturer has increased its reach by producing more outdoor sports products, catering to a wide range of activities. This includes climbing, hiking, and running. Salomon also created the XT-6 model, a now-iconic sneaker that was named the 2019 sneaker of the year by GQ. The sneaker is now a permanent fixture on streets and runaways, having won the favor of many fashion trendsetters and celebrities across the world.
Patagonia has dominated the fleece market, with most of the products available today coming from them. Their logo of an orange and indigo skyline set against a black mountain range backdrop is now associated with trust and style. In addition to producing high-quality fleeces, the company uses recycled material during production and recycles most of their old clothes themselves.
3. The North Face
Having collaborated with big names like Supreme in the mid-2010s, the North Face is a well-known and well-respected player in the clothing industry. Its puffer jackets have become so iconic and such an integral part of the Gorpcore trend that most people associate the brand with Gorpcore.
Arc’teryx’s rise to stardom in the clothing industry was meteoric, to say the least. While initially focused on performance, the brand’s new lines – System_A and Veilance – are more diverse. If you have not seen Arc’teryx on any of your friends, the brand should not be missing from the latest pictures of musicians like Lil Yatchy, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott.
One reason Gorpcore has remained relevant all these years is the fact that the garments that make up the trend are sustainable. As the world tries to be more environment-conscious, clothes that are made to last longer fit right into the market. Gorpcore pieces are practical, versatile, and able to withstand harsh weather. This means that they will remain viable even if the trend dies down. Moreover, most of the fashion brands associated with the trend have instituted very strong environmental policies. The ACG (All Conditions Gear) collection by Nike, for example, uses up to 85 percent recycled materials. The company has also committed to switching to 100% renewable energy within the next three years. In the same spirit, Arc’teryx provides garment repairs for buyers in a bid to improve longevity. It also has a second-hand platform that allows customers to re-sell used clothes.
Gorpcore has been around since Jason Chen defined it in 2017, and the fire does not seem to be dying down on this trend. Generally, Gorpcore involves wearing durable outdoorsy wear to regular activities like brunch or shopping at the mall. So far, several celebrities have been seen rocking the trend, and many fashion brands have dedicated lines to it. If you are looking to join the Gorpcore movement, just wear your hiking clothes to lunch, and you will be all set.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith