Is it just me, or is fashion’s trend machine telling us to dress like we just got back from a hike? Ganni’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection featured anoraks and hiking boots in collaboration with technical-wear brand 66 North. Fendi and Hermes’s collections looked like a luxury manifestation of camping attire. Topshop is selling a bungee cord belt. Anna Sui and Sacai sent utility vests down the runway so capacious they could conceivably store multiple iPhones and a protein bar to boot.
There are a number of factors contributing to this confluence of clothing that pairs well with carabiner clips. First and foremost, “après-hike,” if I may call it that, is a logical summertime successor to the après-ski style trend that cycled to the top of the trend machine this past winter. Just as après-ski allowed us to have our style without freezing our toes off, après-hike allows us to have our style without worrying about sweat stains or having enough pockets to carry a phone and a snack.
Another influence undoubtedly stems from the increasingly ubiquitous lifestyle Outdoor Voices has crafted for its brand on social media, one in which it is not only acceptable to wear workout clothes 24/7, but also fashion-conscious. A recent campaign depicted a group of “friends” on a hike, all of them wearing visually-pleasing ensembles in various shades of earth and pastel. It is a true mark of après-hike’s rise that their outfits would be just as at home at a brunch table in Soho as they would be on a mountaintop.
There’s also the overarching influence of the wellness-industrial complex, which as a result of prescribing what you should eat and feel also suggests a certain uniform conducive to doing so. A uniform that, like an artfully arranged bowl of overnight oats, serves a purpose that is functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. This is the culture from whence athleisure was born, and with it, a shift in how we think about — and wear — athletic apparel. It’s more than just a utilitarian category of clothing designated for workouts. It’s fodder for personal style, not to mention aspirational living — two significant cogs in the fashion industry’s wheel.
Wellness is a lucrative business because it promises a new, better you — a you that drinks green juice and wakes up with clearer skin the next day, a you that works out regularly and has more energy as a result, a you that walks into an infrared sauna and walks out with a renewed sense of purpose. Outdoor Voices’ branding, as well as the après-ski and après-hike trends, are plausibly fashion’s extension of this movement– a sartorial identity to accommodate the self-improvement fantasy. Because the you who drinks green juice and goes to infrared saunas is also the you that just got back from a hike.
Whether or not you did, in fact, do any of that is beside the point. The point is that you’re dressed like someone who might, and therein lies the glimmer.
Photographed by Edith Young; Styled by Harling Ross; Modeled by Lexi Bhardwaj of Wilhemina; Makeup by Andrew Colvin of See Management.