Wholesome Fits from the Great Indoors
This has been the year of the great outdoors - road trips across the country, weekend breaks in the remote countryside, sunrise hikes in Sedona. Photos from Utah, Wyoming, and Montana have flooded our timelines as friends and family trek off the grid, almost as an act of defiance against city life. As we’ve all been pushed inside, nature has suddenly become our ultimate luxury - the only outlet for boundless roaming and a real sense of freedom - and so it’s only right that with this new lifestyle comes with products to suit it.
Gorpcore, from the acronym 'Good 'Ol Raisin & Peanuts' as it was coined by Jason Chen in 2017, isn’t necessarily an original aesthetic, being a sort of amalgamation of normcore, techcore, and... granola. It’s built on decades of nature-enthusiasts intersecting prep-style - think fleece zip-ups, puffer vests, wide-leg waterproof pants, wide-brim bucket hats, and hiking boots. In a nutshell, it’s practical dad-style meets Suburu ownership. And yet the fashion world, as led by aesthetically irreverent moodboards on Instagram such as @organiclab.zip, @unownedspaces and @hikingpatrol, has taken notice.
Right at the cutting edge of technology, you have outerwear to keep you dry and warm by Arc'Teryx Veilance. On the other side of the spectrum where casual comfort reigns, there is Napa by Martine Rose. Functional pieces and practical footwear have found their ways to the style elite in a strange bottom-up cycle of trends, emphasizing a sort of inconspicuousness and relatability not often found in the world of fashion.
Enter ROA. Started in 2015 after a meeting between Italian brand, Slam Jam, and designer Maurizio Quaglia, ROA is gorpcore’s, and fashion’s, favorite hiking brand. Inspired by the beauty of nature and the quality of Italian shoemaking, the brand uses avant-garde materials, such as kudu skin (which makes each pair unique), and advanced construction techniques to produce their spin on technical-outdoors wear. It’s where hiking boots meet sportswear - with Italian spirit, of course.
It’s also where aspiration meets gorpcore, doubling down on this idea that embarking on your journey, and doing it in style, is our newest luxury...or rather, right now, our only luxury. To be free to adventure into nature, or at least to look like it while working from home, has become the identity system of the in-the-know. It’s the signaling that while you may live in a cramped urban center now, you can “make it” in the great outdoors, and you do so regularly.
It’s also a, perhaps more subtle and less pessimistic, signal that you have a desire to be connected to our natural world. Even at the moments when you’re not mountaineering in Colorado, hiking the Pacific Trail, or staring in wonderment at the vastness of our ecological systems, you’re still seeking that tie to freedom that only nature can provide - an undying connection to the organic elements of this planet and our need to be reminded of the role we play in it.
Writing by Rachel Misick (@rachelmisick)