Photography: Steven Popovich
Fashion Direction: Kim Payne
Hair & Grooming: Isobel Claire
Set Design: Tom Simpson
Model: Odell Mun / Priscillas
Words: Alissa Thomas
The rusty door sticks as he wrenches it open. A fly orbits, whirring like an overheating drone. The smell of disturbed mud is hot and acidic as it falls from the tread of the tyres. The tent above puckers then retreats in a gusty, metronomic rhythm. He sends his overnighter to the back seat with a single flick and snaps the clasp on his boots. He buttons his jacket and slings the rods through his pack. He grabs his flask, his wind cheater and starts down the hillside. Toward the lake.
This is the theatre of the unbeaten track. It’s 2021 and trail threads are burgeoning for a brand new future. Garb of a technical category has been climbing the sartorial index for a while but layers that hone style while quantifying stealth and endurance, are becoming the MVP’s of our post-lockdown dawn. The wellies and fringe-y suedes of a bygone festivalia have given way to an organic, earthen outsider. This is the tailored spartan. The lead character for the current zeitgeist.
Yet, despite the dreamscape, cosplay falls short under such utility. The wears of haute outdoor taps trend, of course, but more importantly it functions our fundamental need to fuse life to land. This naturalism opts for raw fibres and draws silhouettes both of rigid volume and filmy grace. It spurns fierce pragmatism and design mastery. The canvases, linens and cottons, all finessed with dutiful additions and hardworking plackets, are as unbothered by cosy locales as they are with rugged terrain.
The goods we mustered for weathering the year’s societal storm are easing, revealing a lasting allegiance to the utilitarian. Flak jackets and gilets, corduroy cargos and juxta-collabs (such as The North Face x Gucci), just some of the ingredients in GORPcore’s fever pitch (an acronym devised some years ago for the look’s association with trail-mix – Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts). Because even beyond the minutiae of the GOREtex’s and the gabardines, fashion at large is agreeable on conscientious couture. This doesn’t mean valiant design is forgotten, however. Musing specialist graphics and precision tailoring is what earns this look its moment in the sun. Be it a Louis Vuitton kaleidoscopic knit, an irreverent Hermès vacation shirt or a Loewe asymmetrical trench, fashion is flexing for a life beyond the city limits. It seems the summer of our dystopia is retreating, and finally hitting the road.
PUFFER VEST, SHOP SIMILAR, COTTON CHECK VEST, SHOP NOW, CORD TROUSERS, SHOP SIMILAR, SELF TIE HAT, SHOP NOW, LARGE PRINTED BACK PACK, SHOP SIMILAR, THE NORTH FACE X GUCCI. THERMOBALL TRACTION MULE V SHOES, SHOP NOW, TRIARCH 2 TENT, SHOP SIMILAR, ECO TRAIL SYNTHETIC SLEEPING BAG, SHOP NOW, THE NORTH FACE
COTTON CHECK SHIRT, THE NORTH FACE X GUCCI, SHOP SIMILAR,