The 2023 Gorpcore Report
A guide to understanding the style shifts occurring within a growing menswear genre.
Editor’s note: wrote this originally on my Twitter account, and it resonated, so I’m sharing it here too.
This is a trend review of what happened in 2022 and some indicators of where we're going.
Gorpcore had another huge year.
I initially wrote about this a couple of years ago, and it’s important that we make the distinction that Gorpcore customers aren't the same as people who *actually* do outdoor shit.
I love this quote from Jason Chen’s famous article in The Cut about gorpcore, where Jason coined the term:
“Listen, if you dropped me somewhere upstate, I’d cry... but I love clothes that can transport me."
That's the irony of gorpcore; it’s all about the flex. Here’s an example… take Salomon.
A TACTICAL SHOE FOR BEING OUTDOORS.
With this rubber cover over it. The cruel irony of gorpcore.
I predicted last year that gorpcore would mature as a genre and that people who got introduced to outdoor clothing and gear via gorpcore would actually get into outdoor stuff.
And some of that happened, but... it’s also going mainstream, and you can’t stop it!
Here are 5 things I’m noticing right now…
Streetwear 🤝 Gorpcore
In specific contexts, it's difficult to know what genre someone is wearing (between the two), because both styles now feel synonymous.
18east and Bodega dropped last year, which was a phenomenal campaign "Good Anywhere" and the photo direction was fantastic.
Notice the baggier fits, draped silhouettes, and stuff you could wear camping outdoors, and on a coffee run to Blue Bottle.
KITH x Salomon teamed up and released another set of colorways of the famous XT6, which has become arguably one of the hottest shoes of 2022.
When I visited KITH's Paris shop this year, they had a bunch of other outdoor footwear, including Nike ACG.
North Face x Online Ceramics was another one of my favorite partnerships in 2022.
Online Ceramics (a newer brand from LA)—known best for its trippy designs—got a huge co-sign from TNF one this colorful drop. The screen prints on these came out great too.
2/ Everyone's got their own shoe
Footwear has been one of the biggest winners in this trend. It should be noted that Gore-Tex and Vibram are having a field day with fashion right now.
And rightly so; they're the best sole producers in-class.
Whether it’s Our Legacy with the Vibram sole, ASICS and Flock Together (a birdwatching collective in the UK), or even Corridor, making a shoe seems to be a fun way to step into this market and differentiate yourself as a brand.
Gorpcore going upmarket
High fashion has long been known to adopt the movements of subcultures or underground spaces. We'll continue to see that happen in campaigns and product drops in the future.
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance and their Mt. Rainier—collab overseen by ALD founder Teddy Santis—was executed nicely.
But it's pricey. $60 socks? $90 t-shirts?
Upmarket, where the margins are.
Moncler x HOKA partnered last year too. It's no surprise HOKA is on everyone's radar, though. They've consistently designed great shoes. And as a traditional running brand, they've also managed to carve a niche in fashion-forward circles.
And then P. Johnson Tailors, a luxury Australian tailoring brand, released their own fly fishing collection. PJT has built an excellent suiting brand based on premium price points and Italian aesthetics. They’ve launched loungewear, sweats, tennis products, and now… fly fishing gear.
In a G-Wagon? Luxe.
More color, bold patterns
I see this the most with outerwear, specifically with fleeces, from Drake's and Carhartt WIP to Gramicci and 18east.
Fleeces have become one of the few pieces that chameleons between streetwear and gorpcore. You can interchange them between genres and we wouldn't blink.
The ceiling for how brands will integrate outdoor stuff into their collections and products is worth watching in 2023. It’s a vast market that will continue being capitalized on. Just the start.