If fashion is a reflection of our collective consciousness then the rise of warcore military-inspired fashion and other survivalist gear generally reserved for emergency responders and doomsday preppers is one of the most alarming trends. Warcore” is all about a tactical vibe that has emerged as an evolution of military style. Quite literally, the look is a manifestation of all the anxiety, distress, and political unrest running rampant throughout the globe. Not surprisingly, warcore is fast becoming a favorite amongst street style stars from Ian Connor to Luka Sabbat, a number of high profile celebs are quickly adopting the look.
It’s taken hold at British labels, A-Cold-Wall and Cottweiler, where models were bound with hiking straps. The look is everywhere there’s a utility pocket, a hammer hook, or a 3M stripe. Raf Simons touched on the theme of rebellion and revolution with his “Riot Riot Riot” Fall 2001 collection. The designer Helmut Lang was another early proponent of warcore, with his monochromatic silhouettes accessorized with harness straps, and piled-on functional layers as far back as 2003. The use of heavy-duty technical fabric for otherwise plain garments like the ones at Y-3 also nod to the trend, whereas the army green cargo pants at Landlord are a more obvious reference to military style. Tactical vests accessorized with work gloves are another popular combination seen at Prada, Robert Geller, and Marcelo Burlon who presented their own versions of tactical vests. Junya Watanabe showed nylon anoraks, wool lumberjack jackets and firefighter coats trimmed with reflective tape, as did Calvin Klein who also threw in balaclavas.
At Louis Vuitton last fall, Kim Jones bid farewell with an urban warcore collab in conjunction with streetwear brand Alyx. The label based in Ferrara, Italy, created tactical vests festooned with cinch straps, Velcro pockets and other details borrowed from the military. Other design labels such as A-Cold-Wall, Dyne, C2H4 and of course Rick Owens are notable front runners of warcore style. Harnesses, chest rigs, holsters, straps, and belts have all been given a fashionable makeover this season in response to the movement. In the current era of social unrest, violence, and political uncertainty, fashion speaks louder than words.