Gorpcore, a term first coined in 2017, is a fashion style that revolves around wearing functional, outdoors-inspired gear. Named after Gorp, an acronym for trail mix that stands for “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts”, this aesthetic focuses on wearing high-performance and utilitarian outdoor gear during the average day.
In Boulder, seeing someone walk around in a North Face puffer jacket or a Patagonia vest doesn’t draw much attention. Given our proximity to dozens of ski resorts and hundreds of hiking trails, it makes sense that people would collect and wear outdoor gear. But, when brands like Patagonia, North Face, or Arc’teryx make their way to runways and paparazzi photos, Gorpcore shows is face.
Frank Ocean wearing a Mammut puffer and an Arc’teryx Beanie
Gorpcore first got its start in 2017, but began to bloom during the pandemic in 2020. Since most forms of meeting had to take place outdoors due to social distancing, as well as hiking being one of the few forms of entertainment available, people began to purchase puffy coats and hiking boots in abundance. Even dining outside often required a warm jacket and a beanie. From there, gorpcore took off. Celebrities began taking notice and working in heavy fleeces and puffy jackets into their rotations.
Hailey Bieber in a Maison Margiela x North Face Jacket
The most popular outdoors brands have certainly taken notice of this style, and have relished in the new opportunity and clientele. While companies like Arc’teryx previously relied on hardcore outdoor enthusiasts to support the brand, they now had a new base of fans. North Face is taking the fashion world by storm by collaborating with high fashion brands like Gucci, Maison Margiela, and Junya Watanabe.
Gorpcore has continuously permeated fashion culture throughout its tenure and shows no signs of slowing down. Almost any brand that makes outdoor gear of any kind has been working to develop a subsection of their brand that appeals to people who aren’t outdoorsy, but enjoy looking like it. Even big name brands like Nike and Adidas, have been reviving styles from their archives to take advantage of this fascination with functional clothing.
At one of the biggest stages on Earth, Gorpcore was front and center. During Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance in 2023, she was wearing Gorpcore! Her shoes were a collaboration between Maison Margiela and Salomon. Salomon, a company best known for skis, snowboards, and running shoes, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight through the power of gorpcore.
Rihanna during her halftime performance at Super Bowl LVII
An extension of athleisure wear that has become so popular in the last decade, Gorpcore continues to permeate through society. Even the comeback of Birkenstocks, from “Jesus sandals” to everyday sightings, can be attributed to the growth of this industry. Overall, Gorpcore represents where fashion meets utility, and in a city like Boulder, there is much of this to go around.