From Trail Mix to Trend: Riding the Wave of Gorpcore

From Trail Mix to Trend: Riding the Wave of Gorpcore



Who would have thought being “a practical dresser” could become so on-trend? Gorpcore, a playful name referencing “Good ol’ raisins and peanuts” (a trail mix popular with hikers), is a moniker given to the trend of wearing functional apparel, generally associated with outdoor pursuits, in urban settings. This includes technical jackets, fleece, hiking boots, cargo pants, and accessories from brands like The North Face, Patagonia, and Arc’Teryx, to name a few. As with so many cultural trends, this one originated in the U.S. and is now a trend with massive momentum in China and other parts of the world.

Jason Chen, a writer and editor for The Cut, first used the term in 2017 in an article describing the upscaling of outdoor apparel, a trend in which clothing designed to be technical and functional was being worn in urban settings and “fashionized.”

Initially, the trend was popularized by celebrities like Frank Ocean and A$AP Rocky. With its focus on outdoor activities, the pandemic pushed the trend further while TikTok and Instagram posts fueled its explosive popularity with billions of views. Gen Z idols Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and Bella Hadid are regularly seen wearing Gorpcore. It is a trend favored by Gen Z, with the potential to engage other generations.

What Did Gorpcore Do For Outdoor Brands?

Outdoor brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, Salomon and Arc’teryx (both of them owned by AMER Brands), Danner, Outdoor Voices, and Hoka have witnessed significant sales growth thanks to Gorpcore. These brands were formerly strictly favored by those with specific outdoor needs and not necessarily the fashion-conscious. However, Gorpcore has helped them gain a broader and more fashionable audience, leading to a premiumization and “fashionization” beyond the purely technical image. Furthermore, tapping into the Gorpcore trend, premium and luxury fashion brands started partnering with these outdoor brands to produce unique, limited-edition versions of their products.

What’s In It for Luxury Brands?

The luxury segment proved it has a “rebellious’, yet down-to-earth and relatable side by adopting certain Gorpcore elements into its collections. Luxury or premium outerwear brands like Moncler, Canada Goose, Fusalp, Tomas Sailer, Bogner, Mammut, and many others were able to naturally tap into this trend with their high-class versions of Gorpcore products.


Even non-technical brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Loewe, Balenciaga, Prada, Dior, Off-White, and Jacquemus have adapted collections to this trend.


Some of the upsides for the brands that have adopted this trend are outlined below:

Increased Sales: Gorpcore has opened up a new market for luxury brands, attracting customers who may not have been interested in traditional luxury fashion and increasing sales.

Broader Audience Reach: Gorpcore is a more casual and relaxed take on luxury fashion, which can appeal to wider audiences. The collaborations between luxury and outdoor brands accomplished just that: the fusion of rugged practicality and high-end aesthetics has been a fascinating development in the fashion landscape. This does not merely entail putting a designer logo on a fleece jacket; it is a veritable cultural and commercial phenomenon attractive to both brands. There are clear reasons why these collabs have proven to be mutually enriching, including:

Synergies: Luxury brands widened their reach to access a younger audience. Conversely, outdoor brands gained prestige and premium positioning.

Exclusivity and Buzz: Excitement is created via limited-edition drops from these collaborations and a sense of rarity, driving demand and resale value, especially appealing to collectors.

Authenticity: Some collaborations are rooted in genuine partnerships, where both brands share a similar ethos around nature, adventure, and exploration.

Some examples of luxury Gorpcore collabs include the North Face x Gucci, Birkenstock x Louis Vuitton, MM6 Maison Margiela x Salomon, Loewe x On, Dior & Peter Doig, Moncler x Hoka, Balmain & Rossignol, Reformation x Canada Goose.


Product Innovation: Gorpcore has led to the development of new and innovative products from luxury brands, including technical performance with high-end materials and design, such as down jackets made from recycled materials or hiking boots with couture details.


By breaking down the barriers between streetwear, outdoor apparel, and fashion, these collabs further obscure the lines between these three and make luxury more relatable.

Is Gorpcore Going to Stick?

Gorpcore’s core elements have the potential to endure. Since circularity, sustainability, ethical manufacturing standards, health, wellness, and quality of life topics are at the forefront of our collective consciousness, we can expect these “unexpected collaborations” to evolve further. Technological innovations in materials and production processes will refine and elevate the collaborations and the nature of Gorpcore products, whether luxury or premium.

What About Other Trends That Tap into Cultural Movements?

Lately, we have witnessed a profusion of cultural movements resulting in trends impacting both premium and luxury brands. This “core” trend explosion has often been inspired by streetwear, music, art, or movies and is further fueled by social media.

Some of these “core” trends include Goblincore, Cottagecore, Mermaidcore, Regencycore, and Barbiecore. They generally emanate from the current “Zeitgeist” and are evocative of a yearning for simpler things and a return to romanticism, although not always, as in the case of Barbiecore.

Underpinned by the success of the eponymous movie, Barbie-core had a huge moment. It was picked up and reinterpreted by Valentino and later appeared in premium and mass-market collections.


Many of these trends, like Mermaidcore (inspired by “The Little Mermaid) and Regencycore (inspired by “Bridgerton” and “the Gilded Age”), are whimsical, imaginative, and usually based on fictional works having bright yet short-lived moments in the fashion industry.

However, among the transience of most of these trends, Gorpcore has the power to become a lasting element of a more down-to-earth approach to fashion and luxury. Its elements go beyond fashion into health and wellness, athleisure, hospitality and lifestyle, and home design. As trends evolve and mutate over time, a new version of Gorpcore could emerge, already dubbed “Quiet Gorpcore”, essentially a fusion of Gorpcore and Quiet Luxury.



Silvia Coleman
VP of Thought Leadership at CXG
Follow me on LinkedIn.


Alexandra Sasha Kan
Engagement and Growth Senior Manager at CXG
Follow me on LinkedIn.

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