I used to find it weird. I even hated it, how my dad dressed like he was going hiking or fishing, when we were just out to get dinner at a nearby mall. He wore those waterproof trail runners, cargo pants and a lightweight Cordura backpack that barely had enough stuff in it. I didn’t get it, and that was five years ago.
Today, however, dressing like a hiker, lumberjack, or something in between has slowly become a trend. It’s much more acceptable, now that the colder months are coming in.
Is it just the weather? Not really. Consumers are now looking at gear you can wear on a rough muddy trek or while commuting through a storm—but in style. Most outdoor gear that’s available today is lab-manufactured, featuring materials that can outlast varying weather conditions. Even better, they’re complementing the more traditional menswear fall pieces.
Mountain parkas, utility pants and leather hiking boots have all made their regular runway appearances, but are now more often seen on the streets, with more modern pieces appearing in the spirit of collaboration, and serving the demand for practical function. Hardshell jackets, cross-body bags and utility vests are more frequently preferred over the traditional hooded fleece coat and backpack. Trail runners are coming in fresh at the heels of its recently resurrected cousin, the chunky sneaker.
And how can people not love technical outdoor gear? They usually come in a wide array of colors, be it outerwear or otherwise. They’re lightweight, insulated, breathable, waterproof, and more importantly, they’ve become stylish.
Luxury and mainstream brands are following suit, with their own modern takes and trademarked tech, but of course, there are the more familiar mainstays like the North Face, Patagonia, Columbia and Arc’teryx. Japanese sneaker brand HokaOneOne and rival american brand Salomon are no longer overlooked in the sneaker scene. Even fast fashion houses like Zara, H&M and Uniqlo have exceptionally affordable pieces that complement your “fisherman dad” or “commuting hiker” look, with the latter boosting its fall lineup with wonderfully collaborated unique pieces from collaborations with Engineered Garments and J.W. Anderson.
Even favorite sneaker brands Nike and Adidas have not stayed quiet, with the slow but steady run of Nike’s ACG line and the recently released Gardening Pack from Adidas. New Balance just threw in another two new trail running models (honestly I could go forever with the sneakers).
With the large number of brands jumping on the trend, it says explicitly that the outdoors have now become fashion. You can stay indoors or just give the outdoors–gorpcore as some people call it–a try and live the trend, but it’s there either way and you’re probably going to start wearing it.
So as early as five years ago, signs of the trend were pointing there already. I guess my dad was way ahead of everyone. Who’s laughing now?