ith all the new terms that are popping-up all over the internet these days, it can get a little overwhelming trying to keep up with all of them, so we’re here to help. One of the more recent ones gaining a lot of traction is “Gorpcore,” which an overarching term used to describe “outdoor inspired fashion.”
The name, which was influenced by the old trail mix acronym, “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts," was originally coined by The Cut ( A blog by New York Magazine ) in 2017, but really just started becoming mainstream more recently. During the pandemic, a lot of people found some reprieve by going out and experiencing nature through activities like camping, climbing, hiking and skiing. This renewed love for the outdoors led to a craving for fashionable apparel that reflected this adventurous lifestyle. Enter Gorpcore.
This fashion trend is all about high-end apparel that comes packed with all the bells and whistles. The epitome of Gorpcore is mixing functionally outdoorsy items, with the appeal of streetwear. It's also completely unisex, knows no season and definitely transcends being worn on a hiking trail. Let's take a closer look at what that means.
Technical details are key
With Gorpcore styles, the question for consumers isn’t as much about “How does it look,” as much as it is about “What does it do?” Gorpcore embodies this message since many of the items worn in this trend have performance technologies built into them.
Some of the common key features you’ll see in Gorpcore include apparel tech like: waterproofing fabrics, heat-retaining technologies (i.e: Omni Heat™ and Thermarator ™ by Columbia), UPF sun protection, wind resistant materials, and moisture wicking fabrics.
Premium brands play a crucial role
Premium retail brands play a crucial role in Gorpcore. The logos of the biggest outdoors brands are worn like badges of honor, often on the sleeve or on the left chest. Think the Columbias and Patagonias of the world. Popular brand labels have always played a big part within the streetwear scene and Gorpcore is no different.
Collaborations are continuing to emerge in this category, as the streetwear scene has begun to adopt the Gorpcore look more and more. High-end fashion houses and streetwear brands are dipping their toes into it through collabs with well-known outdoor brands, like the popular Vancouver-based label Arc’teryx, who put together a collection with Palace. Even Disney is trying to dive into the Gorpcore hype, through their recent collaboration with Columbia on a Boba Fett capsule collection.
Your typical Gorpcore outfit
Gorpcore encompasses a wide range of apparel combinations, but here's what a typical outfit might look like in this category:
- Put it over a ¼ zip sweater fleece.
(This will usually be something that’s lightweight to layer under your jacket or vest. For extra bonus points: Make it heathered to add an extra fashion element to your look.)
- Add in some jeans, leggings, joggers or cargo pants.
(The options for bottoms in this look are endless, but cargo pants really embody the trend. Honestly, most of the pants you have in your closet will work.)
- Throw on a retail branded beanie.
(Showing off the brand name is a staple of gorpcore; wear your premium brand logo with pride as an accessory)
- Then put the finishing touches on your look with a matching pair of high socks, along with your favorite sneakers or hiking boots.
(I couldn’t have imagined wearing high socks 5 years ago. It was all about the “no show” sock for me. But, now high socks have made their way back into the fashion-sphere and let me tell you – your ankles will thank you, during the winter months.)
Putting it all together
I decided to give this look a try, so I gathered together some of the styles we had around the office to see how it'd turn out (Check out the photo on the left.) I'll let you be the judge on whether I truly pulled it off or not, though.
The heathered Columbia 1/2 zip really helps give the look more of a streetwear vibe. A solid colorway probably would've made the styling fall a little flat. Textures are huge in fashion now, so if you have clients looking for a 1/2 or 1/4 zip, try suggesting something with a little more pop to it. That way it'll look great on it's own, and also as a part of a layered styling.
A trend for all seasons
This trend is evolving to include much more than puffers and rain jackets. With Spring just around the corner, the next evolution of Gorpcore is coming. Soon, we’ll be seeing more of an outdoor vacation vibe finding its way into this trend, that'll bring in more color, patterns and lightweight options. Some key items to look out for are windbreakers, Bermuda shirts ( which is now the updated term for “Hawaiian Shirts” ), swim shorts, bikinis and, of course, high performance shirts and bottoms, with quick drying technology built into them. Again, sticking to the overarching theme of mixing fashion with function.
Gorpcore is Here to Stay
Gorpcore is merging the worlds of the great outdoors and modern fashion to create another hybrid trend similar to athleisure, which is becoming more and more the everyday norm. According to market data portal, Statisa, “In 2018, the outdoor clothing market was valued at approximately $12.7 billion and was forecasted to reach a value of $19.6 billion by 2026.” Gorpcore is more than just a fashion trend. It encompasses an overall lifestyle, and people's love of the outdoors isn't likely to fade away anytime soon.