Gorpcore: who dress like an hiker in the city.
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Salomon x Comme des Garçons, Gucci x The North Face, Arc'teryx x Jil Sander, Jacquemus' "La Montagne" collection: the fashion industry wanted to plant its "summit peak" on the highest point of the imaginary mountain of Gorpcore.

The evolution of the “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts” Style.

The rise of the Gorpcore style was yet another natural evolution of clothing born for sports, borrowed from lifestyle.

Indeed, it had been a few years – more precisely, since the early 2000s with Skate – that the fashion world had not drawn from sports style to re-innovate its archive, shuffle the cards, and devise a new design; as happened with tennis, basketball, soccer – just to name a few.

“Suddenly”, we found our cities invaded by bulky down jackets, hiking sneakers, fabrics and technical details on pants, jackets and sweatshirts, not knowing how to name this overbearingly rampant trend.

Fortunately, American magazine ‘The Cut’ took care of that, calling this specific aesthetic “Gorpcore” in 2017: a type of performance clothing born for hiking in the mountains, worn in the city.

The term Gorpcore – in turn – derives from “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts”: a slang expression used by mountain climbers to define ‘Trail Mix,’ or a sneak made of muesli, dried fruits, nuts, and berries to be consumed while hiking, plus “Core” suffix used to define a trend, a way of being.

Beyond extremely comfortable and functional clothing, Gorpcore has managed to identify itself as a trend that was born and spread among niche brands, and then landed in fashion houses and on their runways.

Gorpcore is an authentic style, this is its incomputable strength.

Design-wise, it draws from utility wear and outdoor garment; but what deeply distinguishes this style is not aesthetics so much as experience.

Gorpcore is linked to the liberating sense of rediscovering the great outdoors in nature, adventure, and regenerative silences, as opposed to the chaos of the city: this language has been the fundamental ingredient of brands such as Nike ACG, The North Face, Patagonia, Salomon, Arc’teryx, Fjällräven, and White Mountaineering.

Nike ACG, however, deserves a separate discourse from the other brands that were born for hiking. Nike’s outdoor “All Conditions Gear” line has officially existed since 1989, and experienced a techwear moment from 2014 to 2018 under the leadership of Errolson Hugh formerly the designer of Acronym, the pioneering techwear fabric.

Its collections were among the most innovative conceived by Nike, far ahead-both in aesthetics and innovative materials-of almost the entire market at the time. The brand can only be classified Gorpcore from 2018 onward, when it returned to producing garments inspired directly by the origins of the ACG line.

Gorpcore on the runway.

Salomon x Comme des Garçons, Gucci x The North Face, Arc’teryx x Jil Sander, Jacquemus’ “La Montagne” collection: the fashion industry wanted to plant its “summit peak” on the highest point of the imaginary mountain of Gorpcore.

 

But how did we go from hiking in the mountains to city asphalts to the runways of Fashion Week?

2017 was the year of the decisive shift from movement to fashion, where the lexical foundations of the trend were laid and the path on the map was plotted to arrive at the highest point: Paris Fashion Week.

At the Nike Future Sport Forum show at Paris FW 2020, there are Virgil Abloh and Drake, sitting next to each other in the front row while wearing the same jacket: an Arc’teryx Leaf Camouflage shell.

A few days later, comes the “coup de grace”: Abloh himself presents the Off-White collection, consisting of particular half Arc’teryx shell jacket half tulle dress, worn beautifully by Bella Hadid.

From this moment on, the Gorpcore becomes part of pop culture with all its technical garment, transforming what was once considered an outsider’s one into coolness, especially by unhinging one of the basic principles on which the fashion industry has always – tacitly – relied: comfort cannot go hand in hand with elegance.

“In design, the constant challenge is in the balance between comfort and luxury, between practicality and glamour”

Donna Karan

Thanks to Gorpcore the fashion narrative has definitely changed. Thankfully.

WORDS: Manuela Palma

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