Gorpcore, From the City to the Mountainside
Most of us probably remember the normcore trend. Jeans, preferably Levi's or a similar look, knitwear, preferably a turtleneck, maybe a plaid shirt, dad cap, and dad shoes made most people look average with references to, among others, Steve Jobs' immediately boring and uninspiring wardrobe. Boring or not, it nevertheless became a trend that stuck, and we still see prevailing elements from it - for example, the plaid shirt, dad caps, and especially the classic dad shoe from both New Balance and Nike.
For several years now, a new trend has been creeping in, and now it has really made its entrance, and one must say that it has stuck in both the fashion and street scene. The new trend is called gorpcore.
But what is gorpcore?
Some might describe it as camping gear, others as outdoor clothing, and some would label it as practical clothing. It all covers clothing with function and purpose, but with the twist that it is used for fashion purposes and for the look rather than its original practical function. The name 'gorpcore' is a mysterious reference to a snack that many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy consuming on their hiking or climbing trips due to its high energy content. The snack is a nut mix called "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts" - taking the initials, you get "G-O-R-P."
The trend can actually be traced back to 2017. So why are we choosing to write an article about it now? Well, for the simple reason that the trend is still present, and in fact, it seems to have taken hold so firmly that new brands and products are emerging specifically for the fashion industry, rather than for outdoor use, based on it.
The Danish brand HALO is an example of a brand that taps into gorpcore, while classics like The North Face and Columbia have existed for decades and fit perfectly into the trend. So, it's brands like these, as well as Patagonia, Arc'teryx, Salomon, Helly Hansen, Snow Peak, Teva, And Wander, and 66North that thrive on the trend.
Arc'teryx is a big favorite among those who want to tap into the trend and pay for it. The brand has repeatedly been spotted on the likes of Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, and Drake. Generally, some big style icons have been the pioneers of the style. A$AP Rocky quickly jumped on the trend with down jackets, fleece clothes, and a practical belt bag over his shoulder. In 2019, Frank Ocean showed up to Louis Vuitton's fashion show in Paris wearing an orange down jacket from Mammut, an Arc'teryx-patterned hat, jeans, and hiking boots.
One area where the trend has also gained ground and seems to be more than just a passing trend is in the world of shoes. The brand Salomon and trail shoes, in general, have truly gained popularity. Also, the whole current trend of so-called "mules" has its roots in outdoor footwear. Whether you prefer Subu, The North Face, Teva, Birkenstock's ubiquitous Boston model, or Merrell's hydro-moc, it originally stems from a function in connection with outdoor life. The North Face tent-mule was originally made as slippers for use in the base camp on Mount Everest. Several of Teva's sandals are made for hiking in water, and the same goes for Merrell's hydro-moc.
...could have been another name for the trend. The clothing with many functions used in gorpcore is often worn in environments that don't necessarily require so many functions. A jacket made to shield against wind and weather on the way to the last basecamp on Mount Everest looks good visually in one of the bridge neighborhoods in Copenhagen, where the most essential function is the look. Nevertheless, it's nice to have the security of staying warm and dry.
Quite paradoxically, brands and products with inherent functions and technical qualities are popular in various forums and on numerous Instagram profiles such as hikingpatrol, organiclab.zip, and unknown spaces. It's quite ironic that products with a technical function and quality exist in a virtual universe. Several of the sites constructively discuss active use of the clothing and its functions, and distance themselves from the use in the fashion industry, while other sites celebrate the urban twist and use of the products as fashion items and statement pieces. If you want to update your wardrobe with elements from gorpcore, you can do so with smaller accessories like hats, backpacks, waist bags, gloves, and caps, but you can also go all out with tech pants, fleece, and technical jackets.
Earthy colors like khaki, olive green, army, and brown are popular, as are dark gray, navy, and of course black. If you're hardcore, you can go for the original outdoor colors like pink, purple, turquoise, bright green, and the like (outdoor gear has notoriously been colorful, so you don't get lost, or can be found more easily if you get lost on a mountainside or in the wilderness). One thing is for sure - gorpcore looks super cool, and it's a great trend because the clothing also has practical functions, keeping you dry and warm. At qUINT, you can shop to your heart's content and get your gorpcore wardrobe updated with styles from, among others, The North Face, HALO, and Columbia.