GORPCORE, Streetwear’s Love Affair with the Great Outdoors
You’re hiking with a few friends, either because you like to or because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and activities are limited. You reach in your The North Face Recon Backpack for your custom Nalgene bottle. You’re expecting rain, so you don’t want to take off your jacket, but the humidity is getting to you so you unzip the underarm vents of your And Wander E Vent Dropping Pocket Rain Jacket. You probably know it by now, but in case you don’t, this is Gorpcore.
Coined by Jason Chen in a 2017 piece for The Cut, Gorpcore —named after the colloquial term for trail mix (“Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts”)—is a style based on wearing outdoors-inspired gear whether you’re in its intended setting or not. Over the past few years, the trend has grown exponentially, with brands like Arc’teryx and Patagonia reaping the benefits of being true to this and not new to this, and many streetwear brands hopping on the trend and creating some solid gear of their own.
In order to figure out what’s next for Gorpcore, we talked to Jeanine Pesce of creative consulting agency, RANGE, Gene Han of outdoors gear haven, Hatchet Supply, and Evelyn Escobar-Thomas of Hike Clerb.
Jeanine Pesce on what’s next for Gorpcore:
Photography Credit: Graham Hiemstra
“We’ve discussed the huge increase in people getting outside during COVID-19 in our Horizon Reports and we believe it’s confirmation this trend is only going to keep evolving. As a growing cohort of streetwear fans embrace the great outdoors, lifestyle brands are building equity among discerning consumers who prioritize durability, performance and style. With outdoor participation holding steady and record visitors at National Parks, it's no surprise just about everyone is doubling down on their outdoor-inspired fits. Spending time outside is the ultimate extravagance and the new signal of global status. Consumers are shifting the narrative for what's considered "luxury" by elevating products that align with their vision of a post-pandemic world. Defining the outdoors as a luxury we all deserve opens up a new path to reach a fresh, hyper-engaged audience. Plus, people want to look "outdoorsy" because they are actually going outside. Despite COVID-related challenges, outdoor participation is on the rise and sales for outdoor categories are increasing by up to 500%. Americans are taking up new activities, specifically running, cycling and hiking and 82% of those who went outdoors for the first time say they will stay engaged in outdoor activities even as restrictions are lifted.”
See Jeanine’s Gorpcore Picks from the Complex SHOP below:
Gene of Hatchet Supply on the Gorpcore essentials he’s seen grow in sales and the trend’s influence on streetwear:
Photography Credit: Hatchet Supply
“We've seen an increase in sales across the board but none more so than in footwear. Hiking and trail running silhouettes have really taken off from brands such as Hoka One One, Salomon, On Running and Merrell TRL1. Functional outerwear, especially those with technical membranes such as Gore-tex, Pertex or eVent, have been popular. All fleece products from brands such as Gramicci Japan have been sold out for months. And brands that straddle the line between technical outdoor and fashion such as Nanamica, And Wander and Manastash have been on fire.”
Before Gorpcore was a thing, we at Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. weren't necessarily into the look as a fashion statement but rather aimed to collect and curate well made, functional products that we appreciated. I don't think the prominence of gorpcore fashion has affected or will affect product construction of traditional outdoor brands. There will always be awesome well made products to drool over. If anything, it's the reverse: the trend has improved the construction of streetwear and fashion products with its use of technical materials and functional design.”
See Gene’s Picks Gorpcore Picks from Complex SHOP below:
Evelynn of Hike Clerb on how Gorpcore has affected the style of her social circle:
Photography Credit: Franco Andrade
“Personally, I am someone who dresses for comfort and utility 90% of the time so being someone who spent time outdoors only reemphasized this component of my style. I dress ready for a hike on any given day and I've definitely seen that influence transfer over to those in Hike Clerb who incorporate Gorpcore pieces in their everyday style. From wearing their hiking shoes out on the street to opting for zip-off cargos etc. to run errands or casual hangs around the city, the outdoor lifestyle component has definitely seeped into all facets of life. For me, it's just a part of who I am and what I do.”
See Evelynn’s Gorpcore Picks from the Complex SHOP below: