When Jason Chen first coined the term “gorpcore” for The Cut, in May, 2017, he wasn’t necessarily discovering a new aesthetic. Instead, he was putting a label on something that had been around for a while, but that nobody quite knew how to describe with a catch-all term. “Camping-chic” belied the motivations of those who stepped out in their woodsy finest; “granola-wear” had a dismissive ring to it; any phrase that explained the provenance of the garments but the nuance with which they were worn—like “outdoors-inspired”—was too wordy to stick.

What is Gorpcore?

Gorpcore—named after the colloquial term for trail mix (“Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts”)—is a style focused around wearing utilitarian, functional, outdoors-inspired gear.

But what, exactly, constitutes gorpcore? There are myriad foundational brands from the movement that have crossed over to the mainstream—but there are also plenty that haven’t. There are brands known more to hikers and campers than to fashion week attendees that still represent the pinnacle of the aesthetic movement. And there’s a look, too. It’s one that sits outside both normcore and techwear—but toes the line just enough to sow some confusion. Normcore and techwear will never be confused for gorpcore, but the inverse is not necessarily true. Consider this a primer on gorpcore—the brands, the pieces, the philosophy and the lineage.

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