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The Carletonian

Gorpcore is in.


So, you missed fashion week this past fall. It’s okay! You had school. Unfortunately, Spring/Summer 2022 is already underway. Especially when your courses start heating up, you must always remember the paramount importance of dressing properly when you awake. Looking excellent is a virtuous pursuit! Fear not: I am going to walk you through some of your options for this upcoming season. 

A note: do not be intimidated by the work of some of the high-end designers profiled. Many of you might consider purchasing some of the items and the looks included. Carleton, for some reason, compels many to hide any traces of their moneyed background at the cost of acceptable dress. You will return to your usual milieu on breaks and, as such, there is no reason to pretend otherwise at Carleton. If you are environmentally conscious or have a budget that does not accommodate Balenciaga, you can hit your local thrift store and replicate just about every style profiled. Attentiveness, patience, creativity and a flair of originality will lead you to some delightfully stylish ends. However you cut it, a stylish future is within your reach!

Gorpcore, what’s in store?

For third week, we will be profiling a look that has garnered the attention of just about every fashion house, influencer, magazine and hypebeast over the past couple of seasons. It is also just off the mark of Carleton’s dominant style, and thus well within reach of most of your current wardrobes. 

Gorpcore is a tongue in cheek descriptor of a fashion trend in which extremely purpose-oriented garments are worn through metropolitan centers by the fashionista jet set. Think Arc’teryx jackets meant for mountains and never experiencing the kiss of a rainfall (Arc’teryx particularly has seen skyrocketing sales the past couple years, experiencing rapid sell outs on their recent high-profile collaborations).

First, some history on this trend.

 “Gorp” is a nickname for “Good Ol’ Raisings and Peanuts,” a delicious trail snack classic (you might have eaten it on a CANOE trip). “Core” is often used as an affixive marker of a trend description term (cottagecore, normcore, kidcore…).  Gorpcore has been used to describe the increasingly popular trend of hiking and camping gear (crunchy granola clothing) seeping into fashion circles. Gorpcore toes the line between precisely tailored and materially advanced techwear looks and the semi-ironic (depending on who is doing it) normcore tradition. 

Gorpcore starts with some staple qualities. Its items are deeply utilitarian, form follows function. The style movement welcomes vibrant hues (untraditional color clashes occur often, leading to some youthfully fresh looks). Eclecticism in color and pattern are part of the game. Natural neutrals are also customary. The shoes are often built to take on much greater adventures than a gorpcore follower will throw their way. Salomon has been scoped by designers and consumers for their high-quality seminal models. Other highbrow designers (namely Demna at Balenciaga) have taken on technical sneaker silhouettes and translated them with a high fashion vernacular. Recently, hiking boots (Danner…) have caught glances, especially following Gucci’s proclamation of their relevance. 

Luckily for Carleton College’s gorp potential, Blundstone boots are a favorite as well (although a follower of heady gorp may opt for Redback or other more technical Australian work boots). Birkenstocks, Tevas and Chacos are also welcome for warmer weather. As an assemblage, a gorpcore outfit is usually just a bit too ready to hit the trails. There is often a relaxed unpretentiousness to the movement with comparison to other runway trends. This spirit of not taking oneself too seriously can lead to some of the trend’s more laid-back vibes and relaxed silhouettes. The movement can alternatively invite a who’s-wearing-what-by-whom pissing contest that no one enjoys. 

So, it may seem at this point that you have been dressing in gorpcore from head to toe for a while now! Although this may be the case, gorpcore and unironic normcore often are difficult to distinguish. The items may be there, but the combination might be lacking. Often, silhouetting can throw off a successful gorpcore look. The shoulders should be a bit relaxed, and the body should have little if any tapering. This is where gorpcore and techwear diverge. The pants should be similarly straight legged and a bit loose, ideally a tad high waisted. The shoes should also be on full display, cuff those pants and pop on some fun socks. Avoid khakis and chinos, these are not gorp. 

Collections + brands to peek through: Gucci x Northface, Brain Dead x Northface, Prada SS17, Arc’teryx x Jil Sander, Kapital’s fleeces, vintage Patagonia catalogs, And Wander and Northface purple label.

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