Fashion brands

Why it pays off for fashion brands to embrace the great outdoors – Sourcing Journal

The fresh air draws consumers to trails, campgrounds and national parks, creating new opportunities for clothing brands and retailers to serve essential “gorpcore” products.

Invented by The Cut in 2017 as a catch-all phrase to describe outdoors-inspired fashion with an urban appeal, gorpcore is playing an important role in the growth spurt of the outerwear category. In 2018, the outdoor clothing market was valued at around $ 12.7 billion and is expected to reach $ 19.6 billion by 2026, Statisa reported.

Indeed, the great outdoors have fun. The NPD Group reported that the outdoor market generated $ 6.1 billion in retail sales in the United States in 2020. Hiking, cycling, climbing and running are among the few respites some Insecure and socially remote during the pandemic, all signs point to a booming future for individual outdoor sports or activities that can be enjoyed in small groups.

“As consumers have looked for ways to be active, outdoors and to practice social distancing both in their backyard and in other outdoor environments, camping, water sports and other areas of the world. market have experienced year-over-year sales growth, ”NPD said.

Fashion capitalizes on the outdoor movement with assortments of gorpcore products and marketing campaigns. “Retailers quickly capitalized on the great outdoors trend, identifying the market as a key opportunity in recent financial statements,” said retail analytics firm Edited, noting that Kohl’s anticipated “top line growth. For its expanded outdoor active product line and that VF Corp forecast a 23-25% increase in outdoor revenue in fiscal year 2022.

The burgeoning outdoor category places the Wrangler ATG range in an optimal position for expansion, and the brand is moving quickly with the introduction of two new distribution partners: the American sporting goods chain Academy Sports and the Swiss sporting goods retailer Intersport. Specifically, consumers spend much of their time fishing the outdoors, an activity Wrangler is celebrating with its Wrangler Angler collection announced on Investor Day in May. Launched next year, the collection aims to be the go-to clothing choice for fishing gear for men and women.


Performance denim brand Duer is also in expansion mode. Along with plans to open a new store in California, the brand recently opened a new flagship in Vancouver “turned into a sensory experience” with a “performance playground” that includes Rad Power bikes and facilities. 3D built from eucalyptus, recycled plastic bottles and wood chips.

Sale of gorpcore

Gorpcore is the product of blurring the lines between the outdoors and fashion. Lightweight fabrics, water repellent technology and stretch are parts of gorpcore’s DNA that also resonate with urban commuters.

“Comfort is emerging as a priority among major players in the industry, alongside adjustable and functional items such as zippers, hoods and pockets,” said Edited.

Meanwhile, fleece jackets, performance leggings, vests, chunky-soled shoes, and accessories like water bottles are ways mass retailers are getting into the gorpcore game.

In March, Madewell partnered with Parks Project, a national parks conservation organization, to celebrate parks with a collection of sustainable tops and accessories. The collection included basic 100% recycled cotton items for men and women, including a retro Yosemite National Park hoodie and t-shirts with graphics that pay homage to Joshua Tree, Saguaro and National Parks. Zion. The collection also featured a reusable BPA-free plastic bottle. Each purchase came with a co-branded “Leave it Better” cleaning pack, along with a biodegradable garbage bag and gloves to encourage shoppers to take care of the environment.

The growing popularity of outdoor activities opens up new opportunities for clothing brands and retailers to offer essential “gorpcore” products.


Supporting national parks is one of the outdoor themes that retailers use in their gorpcore marketing. Urban Outfitters featured items like Teva sandals and trail running shorts in a camping edition earlier this year, while Timberland encouraged shoppers to go out and explore National Boot Day (April 13).

This fall, Lucky Brand launched “Play for the Parks,” a digital content series featuring Grammy-nominated musician Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine performing acoustic sets in Yosemite National Park in California. The campaign included a donation of $ 25,000 from the denim brand to support national park preservation efforts.

Other retailers are taking an outdoor approach to promoting staples like loungewear. For example, Fashion Nova “pushed seamless bike shorts and crop tops suitable for” a hike and a picnic “alongside knit sneakers and a bucket hat,” Edited said.

What’s next for gorpcore

While quilted coats will be a mainstay of gorpcore fall / winter assortments, Edited sees a ‘bubbling’ seaside theme for Spring / Summer 2022.

For Gen Z, that means vibrant colors and literal underwater patterns like starfish and seashells that harness a vacation vibe. Bermuda shorts, bikinis and swim shorts call for tropical prints, while layered jewelry made with natural materials will introduce an eclectic bohemian look.

For millennials, “seek a happy medium between functional and trendy, pairing seasonal color palettes and silhouettes with high-performance materials and products,” Edited said, adding that garments made with quick-drying fabrics will appeal to consumers who flee the cities for more calm. coastal life.

Preppy classics like Breton tops, chinos and boat shoes, all in a nautical color palette, make up the baby boomer seaside wardrobe. “This generation is focused on spending quality time with friends and family, enjoying the simple pleasures in life with nature at the top of the list,” said Edited.